How the story was reported

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Even 25 years after the murder of retired Southeast Missouri State University professor Margaret Smith, many people are reluctant to discuss the case.

Brian "Andy" Abbott, who is in his 23rd year of a 37-year sentence at the Jefferson City Correctional Center for Smith's death and the theft of her car, declined interview requests from the Southeast Missourian.

Abbott's family could not be reached for comment. The parents of Randy Todd, an acquaintance of Abbott, declined to discuss his death.

This two-day series was pieced together using details from open records, including the trial transcript, police reports and related documents, as well as interviews with officials involved in the case.

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