JOLIET – A judge on Tuesday found a Homer Glen attorney guilty of trying to hire someone to kill his estranged wife while he was locked up in the Will County jail.
Robert W. Gold-Smith, 53, a bankruptcy attorney who has been representing himself, appeared stunned and saddened by Judge Daniel Rozak’s verdict after a bench trial earlier this year. Gold-Smith silently turned away from the bench and shook his head “no” as the judge issued the decision.
Gold-Smith and his former wife, Victoria Smith, were going through a contentious divorce in 2010 when he allegedly punched her outside a courtroom. When he was put in jail in March 2011 on charges of violating an order of protection, he approached a handful of inmates and offered to pay for her death, according to trial testimony.
Career criminal Brian K. McDaniel agreed to wear a wire for Will County sheriff’s investigators to get a deal in his own case, but Gold-Smith argued McDaniel impersonated his whispering voice.
Rozak let it be known during pretrial hearings he had “issues with the recording,” but said Tuesday it was not the only evidence he considered in making his decision.
“I’ve got probably close to 30 hours considering all this evidence. That’s not an exaggeration,” the judge said.
Rozak noted there are some differences in what he was able to hear on the recording and the transcript of the recording that was submitted to the court.
The judge also said that although the angle of a video camera in the jail does not show McDaniel and Gold-Smith talking during the night of their purported conversation, it does show whenever the door of McDaniel’s cell opened.
Gold-Smith faces up to 40 years in prison. After Rozak announced he was guilty on both counts of solicitation of murder, Gold-Smith appeared dazed and did not realize he shocked some of the courtroom audience by making a common request.
“For purposes of post-trial motions, judge, I’d like to retain the services of the public defender,” Gold-Smith said quietly.
Rozak granted the public defender’s appointment.