An appeal by a man sentenced to die as the consequence of a Cleveland County homicide was turned down Thursday by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Brad Hunter Smith asked the court to act on issues he raised dealing with the sentencing phase of his trial in the murder of Cherrish Allbright and her unborn child.
The bodies of Cherrish Allbright and her unborn child were found buried in an unmarked grave on December 10, 2015. Allbright had an arrow through her back and she had suffered two, severe, blunt-force impacts to the back of her head, which caused her death.
Smith was arrested and charged with her murder. Following a jury trial in Cleveland County, he was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.
Trial testimony indicated that in November 2015, Allbright disclosed to Smith that she was pregnant with his child. Throughout the following weeks he made numerous comments to friends, family, and coworkers that he needed help committing a murder.
Smith enlisted the help of his two friends, Jonathan Guenther and Joshua Brown, to kill Allbright and hide her body. According to the plan, Brown would call Allbright under the pretenses of wanting to smoke marijuana and then drive her to a nearby field where Guenther and Smith would be lying in wait.
When Brown arrived at the field with Allbright, Guenther and Smith were hiding behind some trees. When Allbright exited and walked to the front of the vehicle, Smith stood up and shot her through the back with a crossbow bolt. She attempted to get back into the vehicle, but Smith ordered her to get down on the ground on her knees. He then used a wooden baseball bat to hit her twice in the back of the head, killing her. The trio then loaded the body onto the back of a trailer, transported it to a gravesite behind Smith’s house, and buried her.
Officers from the Cleveland County Sherriff’s Department brought Brown in for questioning on an unrelated matter and, upon encouragement from his mother, he confessed to the murder and led officers to the grave. Based on the information Brown provided, officers from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were ultimately able to arrest Smith.
Smith was charged with kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and capital murder. The jury convicted him on all charges and he was sentenced to 20 years, 10 years, and death respectively. He only challenged his sentence for capital murder on appeal.
Smith, 22, remains incarcerated at the Varner Supermax Unit.
Circuit Court Judge David Talley of Magnolia heard the case at trial.