Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Dennis Richard Smith Sentenced To More Than 19 Years In Prison For Kidnapping
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On March 31, 2016, Dennis Richard Smith, 55, of Knoxville, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Pamela L. Reeves, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 235 months in federal prison.
In July 2014, Smith pleaded guilty to the May 2014 kidnapping of his ex-wife from a home where she worked as a housekeeper in west Knoxville. Evidence presented at the sentencing hearing showed that Smith broke a window to gain entry into the residence. He then brandished an airsoft pistol, placed the pistol against the victim’s head, threatened to kill her, and forcibly kidnapped her. The victim did not realize that the pistol was an airsoft pistol until after she was rescued by law enforcement. The victim had previously been stalked and harassed by Smith and had a valid order of protection against Smith. After taking the victim and holding her for several hours, Smith fled with her to North Carolina. He communicated with the victim’s family by phone and told them that if anyone tried to stop him, they would never see her again.
In the late hours of May 7, 2014, law enforcement determined that the vehicle Smith was driving was at a rest area on Interstate-40E in North Carolina. After surrounding the vehicle, law enforcement arrested Smith and freed the victim.
Agencies involved in this investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Streets Task Force, Knoxville Division, which is made up of agents with the FBI and officers from Knoxville Police Department and Knox County Sheriff’s Office; Knoxville Police Department; FBI, Charlotte, North Carolina Division; McDowell County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Department; Marion, North Carolina Police Department; North Carolina Highway Patrol; and McDowell County, North Carolina Office of Emergency Management. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia F. Davidson represented the United States.