All the way up to this guy’s arrest, he was giving me rides to church on Wednesday nights.  I was 12/13 years old.

I had heard that he had been arrested for murder, but for many years, until today, had not remembered that much about it or thought about it much.  I guess we block things like that out of our minds when we are young.

I give thanks that it was not me, and cry for the family of those little girls.


Virgil Delano PRESNELL Jr.

Classification: Murderer

Characteristics: Rape

Number of victims: 1

Date of murder: May 4, 1976

Date of birth: 1953

Victim profile: Lori Ann Smith (female, 8)

Method of murder: Drowning

Location: Cobb County, Georgia, USA

Status: Sentenced to death on October 1976

Virgil D. Presnell Jr., was sentenced to death in October 1976 in Cobb County. Five months earlier, on May 4, 1976, he kidnapped two schoolgirls. Presnell confessed to laying in wait for the 10- and 8-year-old girls. He raped and sodomized the older girl, and when 8-year-old Lori Ann Smith tried to run away, he drowned her in a stream.

According to Cobb County D.A. Patrick Head, Presnell was retried in 1999 and given the death penalty again. “There is no doubt as to Presnell’s guilt,” says Head. “But here we are, 31 years later, and he is still sitting on death row.”