Murder witnesses, family members testify in day two of Floyd Smith's murder trial

Two witnesses to the murder of Donald Alkire shared what they saw happen on March 7th, 2020. Two hurting mothers also testified.

Posted: Mar 17, 2021 7:07 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2021 7:14 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The jury trial for Floyd Wayne Smith continued on Wednesday for the second day. Smith is charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and assisting a criminal.

As we previously reported, Smith, Joseph Wilkerson and a third man, Nathan Reene, went to the home of Donnie Alkire on March 7th, 2020. Wilkerson stabbed Donnie in the neck and then the three men left the 7th Street home without giving medical aid. Wilkerson pled guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 57 year in the DOC in July 2020.

Wilkerson and Reene both testified first thine Wednesday morning. Wilkerson appeared before the court in a maroon dress shirt, short haircut and shackles around his ankles.

Wilkerson said he met Donnie and Floyd through working at the old MCL Bakery in West Lafayette. Wilkerson described their relationship as coworkers and "best friends" and "brothers." Their bond was so strong, that they even each burned a cigarette mark into their right hands to signify their bond.

Wilkerson said he had a falling out with Donnie three or four months prior to his death and hadn't interacted with him since then. Donnie was eventually fired from MCL, partially at the discretion of Smith according to Wilkerson. However they all lost their jobs when MCL closed down for good.

On March 7th, 2020, Wilkerson said he was still looking for a new job. He wanted to hang out with Smith, so he called him through Facebook Messenger and they arrived at Champs Bar and Grill in Lafayette together. Wilkerson said Smith picked him up from his home and they drove to Champs together. Security camera footage obtained from the owner of Champs shows Smith's black 4-door pick-up truck pulling into the parking lot and the two men getting out.

Footage from inside the bar shows them sitting at the bar and ordering beers. That's when Nathan Reene walked up. Reene testified that he was friends with Smith, and when he saw Smith and another man he didn't know walk into Champs, he went up to say hello. Reene said he had already had several drinks at this point in the day.

Wilkerson said they started talking about Donnie and how well he was doing about getting his life back on track. He said he got the feeling that Smith was jealous of Donnie's progress. He said Smith asked him if he wanted to go kill Donnie, and he replied okay. Reene testified that he heard Smith talk about killing someone, but wasn't able to catch who. He said he thought Smith was joking because of the absurdity of the action.

Reene asked Smith for a ride home when it came time to leave. He said Smith said that he would, but that they had to stop and see a friend first. You can see all three men get up from the bar, leave the establishment and drive away in the black pick-up.

Wilkerson said he didn't know where Donnie lived. Reene said that while he did know Donnie, it had been years since he had seen him, and he also did not know where he lived. They both said that Smith is the one who drove them to the home on 7th street.

When they arrived, they let Reene out of the car. He said he went to stand on the porch of the house while Wilkerson and Smith stayed inside the car. This is when Wilkerson testified that Smith gave him the murder weapon, a throwing knife with flames on it. He said that he had actually given to Smith as a gift. Wilkerson said that Smith threatened his sister and young nephew's lives if he didn't follow through with killing Donnie. He said that Smith told him he would give him a signal for when he should kill him.

All three men entered the home and you see Smith hold his finger to his mouth in a "shh"-ing gesture. The jury saw security camera footage of them walking in and you see that gesture happen on the video. Reene said he was still oblivious to the true nature of their visit. He said he thought they were surprising Donnie.

The three walk up to Donnie's room on the third floor of the home. Both Wilkerson and Reene said there were greetings, handshakes and pleasantries exchanged at first. They said they talked for a few minutes and the conversation was not aggressive. Wilkerson said Smith's body was faced towards Donnie, but with his eyes, he looked at Wilkerson and winked at him. He took that has is signal and he said he stabbed Donnie in the neck.

Reene said he was not looking at Smith so he did not see any gesture. However he said all of a sudden Wilkerson stood up and stabbed Donnie. He said he was in a state of shock after that. All three men quickly left the home and drove away.

On Tuesday, the building manager, John Tankersley, heard a loud commotion upstairs. He said he went up to investigate when he saw three men walking out and that he asked what was going on. To which he said Smith replied "he's drunk." The jury saw this interaction on security camera footage from inside the home. Wilkerson testified that he did not remember any such interaction, but Reene remembered it happening.

When they drove away in the black truck, Reene and Wilkerson remembered a conversation happening about the knife. Wilkerson said he dropped it in Donnie's room in shock. Both men remembered Smith's demeanor as upset and agitated upon learning the knife was left behind.

They drove Reene home and he remembered Smith telling him to keep quiet. He said he tried to wake his dad up at that point to tell him what happened. He ultimately ended up calling 911 and agreeing to talk to police about what he saw. The jury got to hear that recorded 911 call. Reene never faced any charges for his involvement in the crime.

When Smith drove Wilkerson home, Wilkerson remembered Smith telling him to stay calm and not to turn on the TV and watch the news. He went inside, changed his clothes and waited for his girlfriend to come home. He said he told his girlfriend what happened and they went to bed. He said she got a phone call from a man saying to get out of the apartment, but he didn't know who made the call. 

Police arrived the next day and Wilkerson was arrested. He said at first he lied to LPD about what happened, but ended up giving a truthful statement later on March 8th. 

In the afternoon, the jury heard from family members on both sides of the case: Smith's mother and wife, and Donnie's mother and half-brother. To those who are close with him, Floyd Smith goes by his middle name, Wayne. We will be referring to him as "Wayne" when using his first name.

Carissa Smith, Wayne's wife, testified first. She confirmed that Donnie and her husband had been best friends since childhood. She said she was living with Wayne, their son and her mother-in-law in March 2020. She said she was working that night and didn't get home until around 10pm. 

She confirmed that Wayne went to Champs that day, but when she got home, he was there playing video games. He did not talk about what happened earlier. She said Wayne asked to use her phone because his was dead and he had to make a call. She said he had a conversation with someone, but she didn't know who. 

She said they went to bed at the same time, when her mother-in-law woke her up because police were at their home. She testified that she did not know why they were at her home, all she knew about her husband's whereabouts was that he had gone to Champs for drinks. She said she eventually woke Wayne up about half an hour after police arrived.

Wayne's mother, Linda Smith, testified next. She said her son had met Donnie through Donnie's half-brother, John, when they were kids. She also confirmed that Carissa, Wayne and their child were living with her in March 2020. 

She confirmed that Wayne left the house at one point that night to head to Champs. She said he was gone so long that she tried to call him because he had to work early the next day and she wondered when he would be home. She said he did not answer her call. 

She said he finally did return home around 9:30 that night and went to tell his son good night. She asked where he had been and he said out with friends. He did not tell her about the death of Donnie. 

She tapped her heart and pointed to Wayne as she walked out of the courtroom when the attorneys on both sides were finished questioning her.

The final two witnesses of the day were Martha Sliger and John Sliger, Donnie's mother and half-brother. When the state attorney's asked her connection to Smith, she started to say she thought he was a member of her family with a tone of betrayal. The defense attorney's objected to this and Judge Randy Williams reminded Sliger to only answer the question directly. She confirmed that Smith had been friends with her younger son.

She said they had been friends since Donnie was about nine-years-old. John confirmed that he had known Smith since he was in 4th or 5th grade, and that all three would hang out together in their younger years. He said he grew apart from Smith as he settled down with his wife and had children.

Martha said she was living next door to the home where Donnie was killed. She said when she found out that he was hurt, she ran over to see what was going on. She texted Smith asking him to call her because something had happened to Donnie. These text messages were shown to the jury.

Call logs from Smith's phone show that he did call Martha eventually that night. She said she told Smith that Donnie had been stabbed, but that Smith didn't indicate that he knew anything about what had happened. Call logs show that she called Smith again around 11:13pm to tell him that his best friend had died. She said she had no idea that Smith was involved and he again didn't tell her anything.

Martha stared at Smith as she walked out of the courtroom, throwing daggers with her eyes. Smith did not make eye contact back.

A similar situation happened with John. He testified that he was staying in a hotel in Indianapolis with his family when he got the call that his younger brother was stabbed in the neck and heading for the hospital. He said his family immediately started to head back to Lafayette with his wife driving. 

While on the way back, he got a call from Carissa Smith on Facebook Messenger. However, when he answered, he knew he was talking to Smith. He said Smith asked him what he was up to. When he replied what had happened to Donnie, he said Smith replied, "Oh, well I'll let you go." He describe Smith's tone of voice as calm. He also said that Smith did not tell him anything about what had happened.

Testimony for the day ended around 2:30pm. Judge Williams told the jury that they are ahead of schedule in terms of getting through witnesses. They anticipate that the trial will end on Thursday and jury deliberation will begin the same day. The court is reconvening on Thursday at 8:30am.

Click here to read a recap of day one of Smith's jury trial.

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