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Inmate: Former Principal Admitted Killing A Woman

August 1, 1985

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ A former high school principal charged with murdering a teacher and her two children admitted he killed a woman and said killers shouldn’t leave bodies as evidence, two inmates testified Wednesday.

Jay C. Smith, former principal of Upper Merion High School on Philadelphia’s Main Line, also said, ″I took care of her,″ and the reference was in a conversation involving the murdered teacher, according to Raymond Martray, who met Smith while both were imprisoned at a state penitentiary in Dallas.

The testimony came in the second day of a preliminary hearing for Smith on three counts of murder in the death of Susan Reinert and her two children, Karen, 11 and Michael, 10. The hearing before District Justice Mary Cross is expected to conclude Thursday.

Mrs. Reinert’s nude and battered body was found lying in the back of her car June 25, 1979, in a suburban Harrisburg parking lot. An autopsy concluded she died from a morphine injection. Her children were last seen alive with their mother June 22, 1979, and are presumed dead.

Smith, 56, was arrested last month at a state prison where he is serving time on a theft charge.

Prosecutors say Smith and English teacher William Bradfield planned and carried out the killings, in part to collect Mrs. Reinert’s estate that included $730,000 in life insurance benefits.

Bradfield was convicted of three counts of murder in October 1983 and is serving three consecutive life terms.

The former principal never specifically admitted killing the Reinerts, said Martray and Charles Montione, who also met Smith at Dallas facility. When asked once whether he killed them, Smith ″just put on a sarcastic grin,″ Montione said.

Martray 41, a former Connellesville policeman, was imprisoned on perjury and burglary charges. The perjury charge was overturned with the help of legal briefs written by Smith, Martray said. He is free while appealing the burglary charges, he said.

Montione, 26, a former premedical student, was imprisoned for armed robbery and is now being held in Dauphin County Prison on a parole violation, he said.

Both inmates said Smith was a prison loner but that he talked about the Reinert case with them.

Smith said ″he wasn’t worried about Bradfield making a deal with the police to turn over the bodies of the children because Bradfield didn’t know where the bodies were, that they were cut up and disposed of,″ Montione said.

In talking about homicide, Montione said, Smith once told him ″the first thing, the most important thing, is never allow the body to be found.″

Smith believed Bradfield’s mistake was letting Mrs. Reinert’s body appear so he wouldn’t have to wait several years for her to be declared legally dead, Montione said.

″Jay said if he knew that he would have taken care of Bradfield,″ Montione said.