The lawyer of a 19-year old shepherd, Malkhaz Kobauri, accused of killing American husband and wife – Ryan and Lora Smith and their 4-year-old child Caleb in Khada Gorge, Dusheti, Georgia, says that the detained man is not guilty.
Kobauri’s Lawyer Davit Girgvliani says his defendant assures the Smiths were killed by two men, “allegedly from North Caucasus, who arrived in Khada Gorge in a black car and when Ryan Smith say them he was worried.”
“Malkhaz Kobauri told me what really happened and I believe him. He says two strangers, who killed the Smiths had the accent of North Caucasians and they took away his gun and did not let him help the family when they killed them,” the lawyer says.
He also added that the shepherd knows all the details because he is a “witness not a killer.”
“When Kobauri told everything to the investigators, they did not believe him…He was under the psychological pressure and pleaded guilty. Those two killers threatened him not to tell anyone the truth so he kept silent in the beginning,” Davit Girgvliani said.
The husband and wife were citizens of the US but had dual citizenship with Georgia, received in 2012. They had lived in the town of Marneuli for seven years and were well respected members of the local and expat community.
A search was launched on July 6 after contact was lost with the couple. Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) made a statement on Monday that a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, stating that on July 4, after a confrontation, he shot Ryan Smith and his son and while Lora Smith was trying to escape, she fell into the ravine and died.
The MIA added the suspect then buried the body of the child to hide the crime, which was later discovered by police officers.
Tbilisi City Court ordered the pre-trial detention of the man on July 11. If found guilty, Kobauri faces life imprisonment.
By Thea Morrison
13 July 2018 12:40