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Man indicted in death of abducted child's mother

By the CNN Wire Staff
A Roanoke County, Virginia, grand jury charged Easley with murder in the commission of abduction with intent to defile.
A Roanoke County, Virginia, grand jury charged Easley with murder in the commission of abduction with intent to defile.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Defendant could face death penalty in Virginia
  • Jeffrey Scott Easley is accused in slaying of girl's mother
  • He also is charged with abducting the girl
  • He was arrested in December after being spotted in San Francisco

(CNN) -- A man charged in a Virginia girl's abduction has also been indicted in the slaying of her mother, authorities said Friday.

Jeffrey Scott Easley, 33, could face the death penalty, but prosecutors have not made a decision, Roanoke County officials said in a press release.

Easley is accused of killing Tina Smith, 41, in her home, officials said.

He was arrested in December after he was accused of abducting Smith's daughter, then 12, and taking her across the country before being spotted outside a San Francisco supermarket. Easley was arrested on abduction charges, as well as counts of credit card theft and credit card fraud. He waived extradition.

On Friday, a Roanoke County grand jury charged Easley with murder in the commission of abduction with intent to defile. The capital murder charge means Easley faces the possibility of life in prison with no parole or death, according to the statement.

Easley's attorney, Thomas W. Roe Jr., has said his client will contest any allegations. He did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

Police believe that Smith, Easley's girlfriend, was killed December 3.

An Amber Alert was issued for the girl December 6, after co-workers found Smith's body inside her Salem home and discovered that her daughter was missing. From the beginning, public notices named Easley, who is being held without bail, as the abduction suspect.

Easley is also charged with abduction with intent to defile for allegedly taking the girl from her home and faces a potential life sentence if convicted in that case. Police believe that Easley intended to sexually assault the child when she was abducted, officials said Friday. That trial will probably be delayed.

In January, Easley wrote a letter to the Roanoke Times, saying the girl was his willing cross-country companion.

"I did not kidnapp her or take her aginest her will," Easley wrote in a misspelled letter postmarked from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. "She made me promise not to leave her."

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