JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA — Returning home from deployment, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Marine Cody Smith, 33, was served with a summons for divorce. This is nothing new in a town filled with heartbreak everytime men and women deploy and return. However, Smith wasn’t going to play nice. He drove to the residence of his wife and her new boyfriend and began assaulting her. According to Onslow County Sheriff’s Department, he came prepared with lighter fluid, rope, and two loaded guns. He handcuffed her and called up her boyfriend, summoning him home.
According to ABC News Channel 12, the woman’s boyfriend returned to the residence where he discovered his girlfriend tied up and her estranged husband holding a loaded gun. He attempted to call 911 and was shot four times. He died at the scene.
Smith didn’t stop there. He proceeded to set the house on fire and he untied his wife after assaulting her again. She got her hands on a gun and shot her husband dead.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene and discovered the dead Marine and the victim’s deceased boyfriend. The fire department put out the house.
As a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune and having worked with 2d LAR through 2d Radio, I can tell you this is a tragedy for all the men and women that worked with Smith. Marines returning home from deployment always have to look forward to a fresh wave of ruined marriages and major relationship upsets. Sometimes there’s warning and sometimes there isn’t.
No one takes it well.
However, acting out in violence is completely unacceptable. Sadly, this isn’t even close to the first time a Marine came home from deployment, discovered his wife cheated on him, and/or served divorce papers days after stepping off a plane. That’s as common and sour as Jacksonville’s water quality. Heck, we’d love to blame it on the water but the truth is, it’s just the nature of the job.
Peer support goes a long way. I’d wish to hell there was more of it for returning home service members.
In any case, what he did to that woman and her boyfriend is inexcusable. It’s the reason why we have to treat a threat as seriously as we do. Using her phone to call the boyfriend to summon him home in the evening time is about as cruel a trap as any could fashion. Being bound up and handcuffed through that process and watching the person you care most for return home to be greeted with blind violence and rage is nothing anyone is prepared to handle.
In the end, we’re out two men and a life permanently marred by this situation. The only solace is she was able to stop her husband from continuing a rampage of violence that promised to consume him entirely and any around him.