“Accused abductor Jeffrey Easley said in a letter from jail that 12-year-old Brittany Smith was his willing cross-country travelling companion.
“I did not kidnapp her or take her aginest her will,” Easley, 32, wrote in a letter postmarked Thursday from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. “She made me promise not to leave her.”
The one-page letter, hand-printed on lined notebook paper, contains misspellings and lacks punctuation. It doesn’t mention the slaying of Tina Smith, 41, who was Easley’s girlfriend and Brittany’s mother.”
“I promised never to leave her behind and always to protect her. that what I did.”
Tina Smith was found slain at her western Roanoke County home Dec. 6, the same day police discovered that Easley, Brittany and Smith’s Dodge Neon were missing. Police found the pair a week later, camping in downtown San Francisco.
Easley was charged with abducting Brittany. Police have called him a suspect in Smith’s killing, but no one has been charged.”
“Brittany has retained Altavista attorney Glenn Berger, who in 1997 won a dismissal of murder charges against an 8-year-old Franklin County boy accused of beating his stepfather to death. Berger would not answer questions about whether Brittany will testify against Easley, or whether she is cooperating with police.”
“Easley, a landscaper whose mother lives in Franklin County, met Tina Smith online over the summer and moved into the Smiths’ home in October. The three became close, according to their postings on social media websites.
Brittany’s MySpace page mentions that she and Easley worked out and watched movies together. He called her “Short Stack.” She called him “Handcuff Buddy.”
“Easley was being held in solitary confinement at the regional jail. A preliminary hearing on the abduction charge is scheduled for Feb. 8.”