Jury trial begins for co-defendant in case where victim fatally stabbed in neck

Floyd Wayne Smith is getting his day in court. His jury trial began on Tuesday with jury selection and the first five state witnesses.

Posted: Mar 16, 2021 8:56 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2021 2:59 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Floyd Wayne Smith is getting his day in court. His jury trial began on Tuesday with jury selection and the first five state witnesses. Smith is facing three charges: murder, conspiracy to commit murder and assisting a criminal.

As we previously reported, Lafayette Police were called to a home near the corner of 7th and Cincinnati Streets on March 7th, 2020. Inside, they found Donald "Donnie" Alkire bleeding profusely from a neck wound, fighting for his life. A battle he ended up losing. He died on the way to the hospital.

Floyd Smith, 32 (left) and Joseph Wilkerson, 25 (right)

Smith's co-defendant in this case, Joseph Wilkerson, took a guilty plea agreement and was sentenced to 57 years for his involvement in the crime in July 2020.

Smith appeared in court wearing a black suit and tie. During opening statements, the state painted a picture of what they believe the evidence will prove. That on March 7th, Smith planned and helped to execute the murder of his best friend.

The state is saying that Smith, Wilkerson and a third friend met up at Champs bar in Lafayette. This third friend heard Smith and Wilkerson talking about killing someone. The state said Smith drove Wilkerson and this third friend to the home on 7th Street where all three went inside.

Wilkerson has already pled guilty and been sentenced for actually killing Donnie. But the state said that as Donnie lay behind screaming for help, all three men quickly left and didn't call for help. And their major fault in the crime was accidentally leaving the murder weapon behind.

Three people who were in the house that night testified first: John Tankersley, Sherri Tankersley and Robert Lacosse. The house is a set of seven rooms divided into individual apartments. The Tankersley's managed the property and Lacosse also lived in the house.

John and Sherri said they were in their downstairs apartment when they heard a commotion upstairs. John said he went upstairs to the third floor to investigate when he saw three men coming down the stairwell. The first he described as a younger man with long curly hair. The second man he said looked so similar to Donnie that he thought it was actually Donnie, so he asked him what was going on.

He replied that Donnie's father, Sean Alkire, who also rented a room on the third floor, was upstairs drunk. Security camera footage played showed this interaction between the three men and John. As the three men quickly walk out, John continued up to the third floor. That's when he saw Donnie in his room on his hands and knees, holding his neck and "pleading to God."

Robert, who rents the third room on the third floor, also testified to seeing three men walk out. And to seeing Donnie "bleeding profusely" from his neck which he was holding. He called 911. The court played the 911 call for the jury. He also was able to describe the first man in the group who walked out in the same way as John.

When Sherri got up to the third floor and saw what happened, she and Robert's wife both stayed with Donnie trying to stop the bleeding. She remembered holding his hand and him saying, "they hurt me." She remembered turning in the indoor security camera footage to the police. 

Lafayette Police Officer Aaron Dobrin testified next. He was the first person to arrive at the scene after 911 was called. The court played his body camera footage. It showed him arriving at the house, climbing the steps to the third floor and coming across the gruesome scene. 

Sherri and Robert's wife were with Donnie while he was on his hands and knees holding his neck. He made moaning sounds above a large blood stain forming on the carpet. Robert's wife said she couldn't move away from him because she was applying pressure to his wound. You can hear the women talking to Donnie, telling him not to go to sleep and and to stay with them. 

Medics finally arrived and took over for the women. The last thing that was played for the jury in the clip was Officer Dobrin telling everyone not to touch the knife on the bed.

Officer Dobrin also testified that he had seen blood spatter on objects in the room that was consistent with arterial blood spatter. He explained that this is when a main artery to the heart is damaged, and the heart will continue to pump high density volumes of blood at low velocity. 

LPD Officer Adam Ransom took the stand next. He was the main crime scene technician case. He said when he first arrived on scene, they were still waiting for a search warrant, so he decided to head to the hospital to meet the victim. He found out later that Donnie died on the way to the hospital. 

He was taken to the body where he began to take pictures of how he found the body. When the coroner arrived, they started examining the body more closely, and he continued to take photos. Officer Ransom remembered the large laceration to the right side of Danny's neck, which was consistent with a stabbing. His body was then taken to the Tippecanoe County Morgue for an autopsy. 

Officer Ransom said he then went back to the house and got permission to process the scene, taking photos outside and inside the home. He took close up photos of the knife left on the bead. It was small and arrow-head like with a black handle, flames and a silver tip, and had blood on it.

He also came to the same conclusion as Officer Dobrin about the arterial blood spatter. He photographed blood on the closet, a space heater and a dresser, indicating that the victims was moving as blood was leaving his body. He photographed the large blood stain the carpet where he was doubled over with the women in the apartment.

He also took photos of Donnie's SIA temporary employee badge and his Indiana ID. The man in the photo did look very similar to how Smith appeared in court.

These were all the witnesses the state got through on Tuesday. They told Superior Court Judge Randy Williams that they planned on calling co-defendant Joseph Wilkerson to testify first thing Wednesday morning.

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