Man convicted in 1977 Hollandsburg killings to seek parole

HOLLANDSBURG, Ind. — One of four men convicted in the slayings of four young Hollandsburg brothers on Valentine’s Day in 1977 will seek parole next month.

David Smith, now 62, will appear before the five-member Indiana Parole Board on Aug. 10, nearly 44 years after he was convicted of the 1977 shotgun slayings of four Parke County brothers, the Tribune-Star reported.

The parole board denied Smith’ parole in 2016.

Smith is incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. He was 17 when the crimes occurred and was sentenced to four life sentences.

At that time, Smith had no parole eligibility. However, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that a mandatory life sentence with no parole should not apply to juveniles convicted of murder.

Smith was one of four young men found guilty of the Feb. 14, 1977, shotgun slayings of Gregory Brooks, 22; Raymond Spencer, 17; Reeve Spencer, 16; and Ralph Spencer, 13.

The four boys and Brooks’ mother, Betty Jane Spencer, were shot while lying face down on the floor of their western home by four intruders wielding sawed-off shotguns.

Betty Jane Spencer survived the shootings and later testified against the four suspects. She died in 2004.

The leader of the thrill killings, Roger Clay Drollinger, died at age 60 in January 2014 at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. The other two convicted killers — Michael W. Wright, now 66, and Daniel R. Stonebraker, now 65 — are serving life sentences at Pendleton.