JOLIET – Victoria Smith looked across the courtroom Tuesday at her former husband and recalled there had been good times at the beginning.
Robert Gold-Smith was smart and fun. He’d had lots of friends.
But by the end, the bickering and arguing had gotten to be too much, and she’d decided she was better off without him. She was reminded why Tuesday morning as they irritably squabbled again.
Their exchanges were the typical aftermath of any failed marriage and it is only because they occurred while Gold-Smith defended himself on charges he tried hiring fellow Will County Jail inmates to murder his wife that they are recorded here.
“We fell deeply in love. ... I cannot believe what’s happened to him,” Smith said.
Six years after he allegedly attacked her in the Will County courthouse hallway and four years after allegedly trying to have her killed, Gold-Smith, 53, was brought to trial Tuesday for solicitation of murder. The Homer Glen attorney, who specialized in bankruptcies, has chosen a bench trial before Judge Daniel Rozak. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
Gold-Smith and Smith married in 1997, but by 2010 his behavior had become increasingly erratic, she testified.
“He was very possessive and controlling, spying on me, trying to get me in trouble at work,” Smith said. “He was drinking a lot, doing cocaine and adjusting his medications around his partying.”
Nov. 19, 2010, was the first time Smith brought her own attorney to the couple’s divorce proceedings. When the lawyers went out in the hall to discuss scheduling, Gold-Smith began leaning on her until she walked out of the courtroom, she testified.
“I walked into the vestibule and just remember looking at people’s feet. ... I heard women screaming,” Smith said. “He kept [hitting me] until people dragged him off.”
Smith needed 14 stitches to close cuts near her eye and was left with a chipped tooth, large bump and floating specks permanently in her vision. She also claimed she found a carving knife and ski mask in her husband’s car following his arrest. Gold-Smith said a friend had asked to borrow the knife to carve a turkey for Thanksgiving the next week.
“In our 16-year relationship had I ever made any physical acts [of violence] upon you before that?” Gold-Smith asked.
“Not physically,” Smith answered.
Gold-Smith also asked his ex if his behavior occurred around the same time he alleged she had an affair with a co-worker.
“I stuck through many years of your craziness. I could take no more,” she said.
Smith also testified she has listened several times to the tape recordings an informant made in the county jail and is “absolutely” sure Gold-Smith is the voice saying, “Kill the [expletive].”