An accused serial murderer linked to the deaths of at least three women and the rape of an 83-year-old woman over the span of seven years made a surprise guilty plea in a Lexington courtroom Thursday afternoon.
Robert Franklin Smallwood, 33, pleaded guilty to nine separate counts connected to the deaths of Doris Roberts in 1999, Sonora Allen in 2002 and Erica Butler in 2006, as well as the rape of Viola Greene, a retired schoolteacher, in 2003.
All pleas were accepted by the judge in the case, and formal sentencing was waived and the judge imposed all recommended sentences before adjourning.
Those recommended sentences are:
1. Murder of Doris Roberts - life in prison 2. Murder of Sonora Allen - life in prison 3. Murder of Erica Butler - life in prison without the possibility of parole because of the aggravated nature 4. First-degree rape of Butler - 20 years 5. First-degree burglary of Viola Greene 20 years 6. First-degree robbery of Greene - 20 years 7. First-degree rape of Greene - 20 years 8. First-degree sodomy of Greene - 20 years 9. Persistent felony offender (enhanced charge #4)
The sentences are to run concurrently with the life without possibility of parole sentence.
Earlier this week, a doctor with state facility had found that Smallwood was competent to stand trial. He'd been in the state facility undergoing evaluation. Smallwood admitted he was on medication to help control his anger, but nothing else.