According to court documents Virgil Presnell would abduct two schoolgirls eight year old Lori Smith and her ten year old friend. The ten year old would be sexually assaulted and Lori Smith attempted to escape however she would be caught by Presnell and killed. The ten year old would be sexually assaulted again.
Virgil Presnell would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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MAJOR OFFENSE: MURDER
MOST RECENT INSTITUTION: GA DIAG CLASS PRISON
MAX POSSIBLE RELEASE DATE: DEATH
Virgil Presnell Case
The evidence adduced at trial authorized the jury to find that on April 23, 1976, Virgil Presnell attempted to abduct a ten-year-old girl in Clayton County as she was walking home from school on a wooded trail. Although he grabbed her and threatened her with a knife, the girl managed to break free and escape.
On May 3, 1976, Virgil Presnell staked out an elementary school in Cobb County and observed a ten-year-old girl walking home on a wooded trail. He returned the following day and waited on the trail. In his car, he had a rug and a jar of lubricant. When the ten-year-old girl came walking down the trail with her eight-year-old friend, Lori Ann Smith, Presnell abducted both girls. He taped their mouths shut and threatened to kill them if they did not cooperate; he also said he had a gun. They got into Presnell’s blue Plymouth Duster.
While Virgil Presnell was driving, he forced the older girl to orally sodomize him and inserted his finger into her vagina. They drove to a secluded area and Presnell walked the children into the woods. He carried the rug and the jar of lubricant. He made both girls undress and he raped the older girl on the rug. Her vagina was torn during the rape and began bleeding. Presnell then said that he was going to take Lori Ann back to his car and that the older girl should wait for him. On the way back to the car, Lori Ann tried to run away, but Presnell caught her and forced her face underwater in a creek, drowning her. The medical examiner testified that there was water, sand and plant matter in her lungs and stomach and that it would have taken one to several minutes for her to die. She had bruises on her neck and a bruise on her back from where Presnell apparently placed his knee.
Virgil Presnell returned to the older girl and again forced her to orally sodomize him. He then locked her in his car trunk and began driving, but a tire went flat so he dropped her off in another wooded area after forcing her to commit oral sodomy again. Although Presnell told her he would return, the older girl heard the sound of a nearby gas station and walked there. She later gave police a description of Presnell and his blue Duster and stated that his tire was flat.
Shortly thereafter the police spotted Presnell changing a tire on his blue Duster at his apartment complex not far from where he dropped off the older girl. Presnell initially denied everything but later admitted that he knew the location of the missing girl and led the police to Lori Ann’s body. He also confessed. A search of Presnell’s bedroom uncovered a handgun and child pornography depicting young girls.