Parke County, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)- The Indiana Parole Board denied parole for David Smith. He and three others burst into a Parke County home and shot five people on a cold and icy Valentine’s Day in 1977. Only one of the victims survived.
According to court documents and news accounts, Smith and the three other men were driving around and decided they wanted to kill someone.
The men picked the Spencer home in Hollandsburg in Parke County after seeing what they described as “nice” cars in the driveway.
The men invaded the home through the front and back doors. They rounded up everyone inside including Gregory Brooks, 22, and his step-brothers; Raymond Spencer 17, Reeve Spencer, 16, and Ralph Spencer, 14, and told them to lie on the living room floor.
Each was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun and died.
Brooks’ mom, Betty Jane Spencer, was also the step-mother of the other boys.
She was also told to lie on the floor. She was shot three times, but survived.
In 1997, WTWO’s Dana Winklepleck interviewed Betty Jane Spencer about the day she lost so much.
“I told them to take whatever they wanted, just don’t hurt the boys,” Betty Jane Spencer Recalled. “I just didn’t want them to hurt the boys.”
Following the shootings, Spencer was placed in police protection while a manhunt for the suspects ensued.
One suspect, Daniel Stonebraker, eventually confessed and named his three accomplices.
Roger Drollinger was the ring leader. It was his idea to find someone to kill.
There was also Mike Wright and David Smith. They all agreed to take part and fired shots.
The four were eventually convicted and received life sentences.
Only Smith is eligible for parole, because he was 17 at the time of the killings.
As for Spencer, her husband had been working the night of the murders. Their marriage later fell apart.
When WTWO interviewed her, she lived alone. She used the boys’ senseless deaths to help others.
She lobbied state lawmakers to pass a Victim’s Rights Bill in Indiana.
“You sure can’t think about your own grief when you’re busy trying to help someone else who is hurting,” said Spencer.
She died in a nursing home facility in 2004. She was 71.
Roger Drollinger died in prison. According to the Indiana Department of Correction, Smith and the other two men are at Pendleton Correctional Facility.
Smith declined to appear at the hearing Tuesday morning. He will have another parole hearing in 2026.