Husband Gets 50 Years For Killing Wife in UTSW Parking Garage

Family says woman was victim of family violence, was divorcing husband

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    Ferdinand Smith, left, has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his wife, Karen Smith, right.

    An estranged husband who shot and killed the mother of his three children inside a UT Southwestern parking garage has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

    Ferdinand Glen Smith pleaded guilty to murder as part of a plea deal that would sentence him to 50 years with parole available after 25 years.

    During emotional impact testimony on Tuesday, the godfather of Smith's children said that Karen Smith knew her estranged husband was dangerous.

    "I spent the last 30 days with Karen of her life. She knew you were going to kill her," he said. "I promised her, if this day ever came and I was in this courtroom and I had to give this testimony, [I would say] she did not love you anymore. She did not love you anymore."

    Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Killing Estranged Wife

    [DFW] Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Killing Estranged Wife
    Ferdinand Smith was sentenced to 50 years as part of a plea deal for killing his estranged wife Karen Smith in a UT Southwestern parking garage.

    "You have no idea what it was like to sit in the living room and to tell their kids that their father had killed their mother," said Claudia Franklin, the children's godmother.

    The strongest words came from Karen Smith's mother, Sara Horton.

    "I wish for you a cruel and violent death in prison and that you burn in hell for eternity, and I spit on the day I met you," she said at the end of her statement.

    Laronda Fuller, one of Karen Smith's best friends, said the pain of her absence cannot be described.

    "I'm heartbroken," she said. "I'm lost. I can't call her. I can't text her. I can't comfort her."

    Nicole Smith, a relative of Ferdinand Smith, also spoke.

    "You took so much from so many people that loved a wonderful person," she said. "You know she was wonderful. You know she loved you with everything that she had."

    Officers near a UT Southwestern South Campus parking garage reported hearing several gunshots on Jan. 8. A short time later, officers found 40-year-old UTSW executive assistant Karen Smith dead of apparent gunshot wounds to her upper body and head.

    Dallas and campus police searched for the shooter for more than three hours.

    Detectives learned Smith was strangled to the point of unconsciousness in her driveway in a domestic violence incident in December. That report led police to the Duncanville address of her estranged husband, 41-year-old Ferdinand Smith. He was arrested without incident on an outstanding family violence warrant.

    According to his arrest warrant, Ferdinand Smith said in an interview with detectives that he had gone to his wife's work address and waited in the parking garage for her to get off work. He said he then confronted her, and they argued about their marital problems. He said he became enraged and shot and killed her with the duty weapon that he used as a security officer. (Read the entire arrest warrant affidavit here.)

    NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.