BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WJHL) — A Big Stone Gap man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to murdering his grandmother and attempting to dispose of her body and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
A release from the Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said Joshua Blake Smith, 34, was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, 10 years with 10 years suspended for abduction and 5 years with 5 years suspended for strangulation. The release said Smith waived any right he has to appeal this sentencing.
Smith reportedly violently attacked his 72-year-old grandmother on August 27, 2020, when he forced her into a bedroom, stabbed her multiple times in the neck with a knife and strangled her. Smith told police upon arrival that “it took her several hours for her to die,” the release states.
According to the release, Smith attempted to recruit others to help him dispose of his grandmother’s body, and officers found a blue tarp and a shovel in front of the residence when they arrived.
Lead prosecutor on the case, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ken Lammers, said he’s relieved to see Smith receive a life sentence.
“Today we convicted Joshua Smith of killing his grandmother,” he said. “The violence and abuse, in this case, was highly disturbing, and this man needed to be held responsible for his actions as well as removed from the community so he could do no further harm. He will spend the rest of his life in a penitentiary. He deserves no less.”
Smith is being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, Virginia as he waits for placement and transfer to the Virginia Department of Corrections.