Death row inmate claims to have killed six HUNTSVILLE, Texas (UPI) _ Police in several cit

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Death row inmate claims to have killed six HUNTSVILLE, Texas (UPI) _ Police in several cities said Thursday they need more details before they can investigate a condemned killer's claims he took part in six ritualistic murders along the East Coast. James E. Smith told reporters Wednesday he was revealing his role in the murders out of anger that his execution was stayed. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Smith's execution Tuesday, about six hours before he was to die. Smith's mother sought the stay, claiming her son is not mentally competent to decide to end appeals of his death sentence. Smith, who was given the death penalty for killing a Houston insurance agent, said his earlier victims included a New York baby that was purchased for $300 and then beheaded as a sacrifice to a voodoo god between February and May 1978. Smith has claimed to be a former voodoo priest, tarot card reader and Hare Krishna follower. Smith also said he killed a transient in New York City in January 1979, took part in the mutilation slayings of three people in Orangeburg, S.C., in 1981 and killed a person in Miami in 1978. Orangeburg County Sheriff C.R. Smith Jr. said Thursday his office has no unsolved murders from 1981, and no evidence to indicate James Smith's story is true. "If what he said is the truth, he hid the bodies very well, because we don't have anything that comes close to what he's describing," the sheriff said. "If they (Texas authorities) can give us something that sounds like it has some validity, if we can get some details ... we'll certainly investigate it." Smith said the South Carolina victims were beheaded and their hearts cut out. The slayings, he said, occurred between February and May 1981. Detective Al Singleton of the Metro Dade County Police Department said officials will look into Smith's claims, but it will be difficult to verify them without more information. Texas Department of Corrections spokesman Charles Brown said he knew of no plans by Texas authorities to investigate Smith's claims because the slayings allegedly occurred in other states. Smith said the victims were killed so he would gain power from voodoo gods. The victims were "babies, kids, whatever was available," he said. "You think of them like animals," he said. "You're not interested in their name. I'm only interested in their body being there and their blood flowing." The 35-year-old former cab driver said his mother, Alexis Hamilton of Indianapolis, was manipulated by death penalty opponents upset that he would not seek a stay of his execution. "Look what you're trying to save," he said of himself. "I certainly hope these bleeding-heart, anti-death penalty folks are happy. They asked for it." Smith admitted for the first time Wednesday his guilt in the March 1983 murder of Larry Don Rohus, 44, during a robbery at a Houston insurance office. Smith said he did not intend to shoot Rohus, but did so after the insurance agent made a "snide remark" after handing over $3,000. Although he was convicted and sentenced to die in Rohus's murder, Smith previously had claimed he was innocent.


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