Marine found dead in burnt out home had killed wife’s boyfriend, set house ablaze

Staff Sgt. Cody Wade Smith (C), Monica Smith (R), and friend Tiffany Karnes (L). Credit: Tiffany Karnes/JDNews.

New evidence has risen in the death of a Marine Staff Sergeant found dead in a burning home in North Carolina, suggesting that he was killed by his estranged wife after he killed her boyfriend.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, 33-year-old SSG Cody Wade Smith was found dead alongside his estranged wife’s lover -identified as 43-year-old Gregory Thomas Pearce- inside the charred home on August 27th, according Military.com.

Staff Sgt. Cody Wade Smith (C), Monica Smith (R), and friend Tiffany Karnes (L). Credit: Tiffany Karnes/JDNews.
Staff Sgt. Cody Wade Smith (C), Monica Smith (R), and friend Tiffany Karnes (L). Credit: Tiffany Karnes/JDNews.

Smith had recently returned from a deployment in Europe with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion just weeks before and had been served with divorce papers on August 11th.

Smith had arranged to come by the house around 5PM to drop off some personal property on the 27th, carrying with him a backpack containing two handguns, duct tape, rope, lighter fluid and matches.

When wife Monica tried to get Smith to leave 30 minutes later, he tied her up and used her phone to lure Pearce over to the house.

When Pearce arrived half an hour later, he was ambushed by Smith, who killed him with one of the handguns he had brought. Shortly after, he set the house on fire with lighter fluid.

At some point during the incident, Monica was able to get control of the handgun and shoot Smith, killing him. Shortly after, she escaped the home and called 911, staying on the phone until emergency services arrived.

Forensic evidence found at the scene corroborated Monica’s testimony and thus she is not being charged, with her actions being cited as self defense.

“Cody Wade Smith did enter the residence with criminal intent,” Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee said. “In fact, he had murderous intent.”

According to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Smith was a 15-year veteran of the Corps who had served two deployments in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, as well as participating in operations over Libya in 2011.

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Author

  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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