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Friday, March 12, 2021

Dr. Jay Smith: The Prince of Darkness

     Dr. Jay Smith, principal of the Upper Merion High School in Merion, Pennsylvania, had acquired the nickname "Prince of Darkness" on account of his eccentric behavior. In June 1979, the body of Susan Reiner, a teacher at Upper Merion, was found naked in her car, and she was later discovered to have taken out huge life insurance policies benefiting one of Smith's accomplices, Bill Bradfield, who was also on the staff of the school.

     In 1981, Bradfield was arrested and convicted of theft by deception. Two years later a prosecutor charged him with the Reiner murder that led to his conviction. Meanwhile Jay Smith had been in prison on other indictments and when he was released in 1986, faced charges arising out of the death of Susan Reiner. A jury found him guilty and he was sent back to prison for murder. Thus a man who was already known to be involved in drugs, swindling and Satanism also achieved star billing as a killer.

Brian Lane, Chronicle of 20th Century Murder, 1995

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