Mark Alan Smith (1 Viewer)


Mark Alan Smith

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4 - 12
Date of murders: 1966 - 1970
Date of birth: June 27, 1949
Victims profile: Eight women in Germany / Obie Faye Ash / Jean Irene Bianchi, 27 / Janice Bolyard, 23 / Jean Ann Lingenfelter, 17
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Strangulation
Location: Germany / Arkansas/Illinois, USA
Status: Sentenced consecutively to a total of 500 years in prison in Illinois in 1971

Mark Allen Smith is the first known serial killer to strike in Des Plaines.

He is not as well known as John Wayne Gacy, whose crimes on the Northwest Side of Chicago involving boys -- including a Des Plaines teenager -- made headlines in 1978.

But Smith, who also grew up on Chicago's Northwest Side, brutally murdered at least seven women, said Des Plaines Police Cmdr. Richard Rozkuszka. One of Smith's victims was Janice Bolyard, a chemist at the De Soto Chemical Plant, 1700 S. Mount Prospect Road, Des Plaines.

For that reason Rozkuszka and Des Plaines Detective Rafael Tovar appeared June 18 before the Illinois Prison Review Board at the Cook County Criminal Court Building in Chicago to tell why Smith, now 52 and eligible for parole from Pontiac Correctional Center, should never be released.

Smith killed at least three women in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army. He then killed Obie Faye Ash, of Cotter, Ark., on Dec. 3, 1969, in Mountain Home, Ark.; Jean Irene Bianchi, of McHenry, on Jan. 27, 1970, in McHenry County; and Bolyard, a 23-year-old Evanston resident, on Feb. 27, 1970, in Des Plaines. For these slayings he was sentenced to 500 years in prison, Rozkuszka said.

Nothing was unusual about Smith's birth June 27, 1949, at Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago, according to "Legally Sane," a book written in 1972 by Harold C. McKenney and Jon K. Hahn.

His mother, Sally Jean Chester, 19, and father, Dennis Smith, a 21-year-old U.S. Marines sergeant, lived near Logan Square in Chicago, but divorced after months. When Sally remarried, the new family moved to the basement of her in-laws' Foster Avenue three-flat on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago.

Mark Smith was only 8 and in third grade at Edgebrook Public School when he tried to strangle a female classmate behind the building, according to the book. And when he was 9 he stabbed a 6-year-old playmate more than 20 times with a pen knife. The boy survived, and though Smith was sent to a psychiatrist, his actions were only a prelude of what was to come.

Owens argues to keep serial killer in prison

State’s Attorney’s Office Criminal Division Chief Nicole Owens used gritty details from two local murders to argue why killer and rapist Mark Smith should stay behind bars.

She spoke of the sand and grass found inside the throat of Jean Bianchi, a 27-year-old mother of two who never came home from a McHenry laundromat. She had been stabbed 17 times, her teeth were knocked out, and her face was distorted from a beating.

Then Owens told the 15-member parole board of 17-year-old Jean Ann Lingenfelter, who disappeared after studying for her senior finals at a friend’s house. The McHenry West High School student had been strangled with her own bra by the man who had taken her friend to prom a few weeks earlier.

“These horrific facts are difficult to hear,” Owens said, according to a transcript. “However, it is necessary that none of us forget how dangerous this confessed serial killer truly is.”

Her comments came Wednesday at the first part of Smith’s 11th parole hearing.

Smith, now 58, began serving a 500-year prison sentence for three murders in 1970. He has confessed to nine other murders.

Now, murderers are sentenced to 20 to 60 years without the potential for early release; life; or the death penalty. But when Smith was convicted, a federal moratorium on the death penalty existed, and sentencing law allowed parole hearings every three years for those eligible.

Smith first was eligible for parole in 1980, about three years after he was convicted of attempting to escape and sentenced to another 18 years.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi, who is not related to Jean Bianchi, said Thursday that he was confident that Smith’s latest parole request would be denied.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board hearing in Chicago was the first in a three-step process. Smith will present his arguments next month at a hearing at the Pontiac Correctional Center, and the board will announce its decision in August after a final presentation in Springfield.

Owens bolstered her comments with 21 pages of letters from victims’ families, 50 pages of petitions and letters from citizens, and a dozen pages of crime-scene photographs. She also offered a copy of “Legally Sane,” a book that details Smith’s killing spree.

The crime-scene photographs were as gruesome as verbal descriptions of the crimes, Owens said.

“Our position is: If they can’t look at those photos, they shouldn’t even consider releasing this man into society,” she said.

Serial killer denied parole again

August 06, 2005

SPRINGFIELD – Betty Portenlanger and the Lingenfelter family will breathe easier for the next three years.

Convicted serial killer Mark Smith's 10th bid for freedom was denied Thursday by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

In 1970, Smith, now 56, was sentenced to 500 years in prison for murdering Jean Bianchi and Jean Ann Lingenfelter in McHenry. Smith also was convicted of murdering a woman in Des Plaines and a woman in Arkansas, and is believed to be responsible for eight murders in Germany.

Portenlanger, Bianchi's sister who lives in Chicago, said she was glad to hear that the Prisoner Review Board again denied parole to Smith.

"That's good news," she said. "I always expect this will be the answer, but it's nice to know formally that it is."

Smith will be eligible for parole again in July 2008, according to review-board documents. Because of a law in place when Smith was sentenced, he is eligible for parole every three years.

Since 1983, Portenlanger has started a letter-writing campaign each time that Smith comes up for parole.

Portenlanger asks hundreds of people to write letters urging the board to deny parole, and said she and her mother were grateful for the assistance. The prisoner review board apparently received several thousand letters opposing Smith's parole this year, Portenlanger said.

On July 6, Portenlanger attended Smith's parole hearing at Pontiac Correctional Center, along with Mark Facchini, McHenry County assistant state's attorney, who delivered a statement asking the board to keep Smith in jail.

"We are so appreciative of the help that the McHenry County State's Attorney's office gives us and also very appreciative of the compassion and expertise that Mark Facchini brought to this," Portenlanger said.

Smith did appear before the review board to plead his case for the first time in nine years, but he and Portenlanger were never in the same room.

Jean Ann Lingenfelter's niece Shannon Fazekas, 33, of McHenry, said she was the only family member still living in the area.

Her grandfather, Jean Ann's father, lives in Florida and was prevented from coming to the parole hearing this year because of his age. Fazekas' uncle, Tom Lingenfelter, lives in California.

Though she never met her aunt, Fazekas heard a lot about her growing up.

"People used to say, 'Oh, you look just like her,'" Fazekas said. "That's really spooky."

Fazekas said Thursday she was glad to hear that Smith wasn't getting out of prison.

"I'm glad he was denied," Fazekas said. "Everyone says there is no chance of him getting out, but it's still in the back of the families' minds."

Nichole Owens' Statement Opposing Serial Killer Mark Smith's Parole

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm a bit late on publishing this statement, but since has appeared no where else and since Nichole Owens did such a splendid job arguing why mass murder Mark Smith should not be let out on the street, I'm putting it up anyway.

I remember Mark Smith as the laundromat murderer.

But he was much more.

McHenry County State's Attorney Chief of the Criminal Division Nichole Owens refreshes our and the Illinois Parole Board's members' minds in her statement below. I have added some paragraphing to make it easier to read.

JUNE 18, 2008

On January 27, 1970, at approximately 9:30 pm, Jean Bianchi, a young wife and mother of two small children, drove to a laundry mat in the town of McHenry.

She called her husband about an hour later to tell him that the family laundry was almost done and that she would be home soon.

Jean never returned home again.

She never saw her husband again.

She never saw her children again.

Her vehicle was found near the laundry mat by the police.

Her laundry was found at the laundry mat with a half-written letter to a friend nearby.

For three days, Jean’s family frantically searched for her.

On January 30th, their worst nightmare came true.

Her body was found partially clothed, floating under an icy ledge in a small creek not from the laundry mat where she was abducted.

Jean’s face was unrecognizable.

Her teeth were knocked out, her face badly distorted from the vicious beating she endured.

An autopsy revealed that Jean had been stabbed 17 times in the neck, back, and chest. Her liver was lacerated.

Her vagina was traumatically lacerated.

Sand and grass were discovered in her throat.

Inmate Smith admitted that he abducted Jean Bianchi at the laundry mat at knife point.

He confessed to forcing her into his car.

He described how he raped her in the back seat, attempted to strangle her, beat her, threw her from a bridge, attempted to drown her in the shallow icy creek, and ultimately stabbed her to death.

And then, as Jean Bianchi lay dead or dieing, Inmate Smith still wasn’t finished with her.

He then sexually assaulted her with his fist.

Jean Bianchi’s family missed her right away.

The desperate search for her began that very night.

And as she lay alone in her watery grave while her family frantically searched, Inmate Smith went home, cleaned off his knife, and went to sleep in his bed, without a second thought.

Jean Bianchi’s family still suffers to this very day, thirty-eight long years later.

This is her sister, Betty Portlander’s 11th appearance before this parole board protesting Inmate Smith’s release from prison.

Exactly four months after murdering Jean Bianchi, on May 27, 1970, Inmate Smith viciously raped and murdered a seventeen-year-old high school senior named Jean Ann Lingenfelter.

Jean Ann was about to graduate from high school. She had her entire future ahead of her.

On the evening of the murder, Jean Ann’s parents became worried when she didn’t return home from studying for finals at a friend’s house.

Like Jean, the search for Jean Ann began that night.

Inmate Smith feigned concern for Jean Ann and assisted law enforcement with their search for her.

Inmate Smith found Jean Ann’s body floating near the shore of a small lake. He knew where to find her because that is where he discarded her corpse.

Jean Ann had been viciously beaten and strangled with her own bra.

Her nose and jaw were broken. Her liver was lacerated. Her vagina was violently torn with the neck of a beer bottle.

Inmate Smith readily admitted these disturbing facts without compassion for Jean Ann or remorse for his actions.

Actions which have affected the lives of so many…today Jean Ann’s niece, a young lady who never knew her, appears today, speaking on her behalf

These horrific facts are difficult to hear; however, it is necessary that none of us forget how dangerous this confessed serial killer truly is and it is important that we realize that this cold-blooded killer is completely and utterly incapable of rehabilitation.

He is devoid of remorse or compassion, callously stating to a former State’s Attorney, that “everyone has to die sometime.”

It is particularly difficult for the family members of these two lovely women, every three years, to revisit the horror and grief that Inmate Smith reaped upon them.

He has outlived many of those who cared for and loved his innocent victims.

But as difficult as it is for them, they are here, once again, protesting his release and heart-felt letters by family members who have passed remain, attached to our petition, for your consideration.

As Jean Bianchi’s deceased mother pointed out in one of her letters,

“I speak from experience when I say a family of the victim is NEVER the same after such a death of a loved one. Emotional, mental suffering still continues for each one of us.

"The sentence of grief for the families of the murder victim is a life sentence.

"It cannot be commuted and parole is not possible.”

Jean Bianchi and Jean Ann Lingenfelter were but two of at least twelve victims Inmate Smith admitted to raping and murdering.

His victims were not human beings to him.

Abducting them, raping them, murdering them, that was sport to Inmate Smith.

We have attached a copy of the book "Legally Sane" to our petition for your consideration. On page 63, Smith states,

“It was sort of like the so-called ecstasy of the hunt must be for animals, only I’m just a little bit above the hunt in snatching girls.”

Dr. Joseph Wepman, a psychologist who examined Inmate Smith years ago stated,

“Mark Alan Smith is always adapting, changing his story or his coloration to suit the circumstances. He will, no doubt, come up for parole within our lifetime, and he will look and sound like a repentant and rehabilitated sinner.

"That would be like giving a driver’s license to somebody who is blind and I don’t want to be on the road when he’s driving the car.

"Don’t let him out. He should remain in Stateville for the rest of his life.”

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office vehemently opposes the release of Mark Smith from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

In support of our petition, an addendum is attached containing 18 pages of protests to the inmate’s release from the families of his victim; 50 pages of letters and petitions from citizens opposing parole; 12 pages of crime scene photos of the Bianchi and Lingenfelter murders; 25 pages of autopsy reports of Jean Bianchi and Jean Ann Lingenfelter; and a copy of the book "Legally Sane."

The inmate has been sentenced consecutively to a total of 500 years in the Department of Corrections for his horrific crimes against three innocent, unsuspecting, and defenseless women.

The inmate agreed to this sentence.

He has yet to serve even 10% of it.

Allowing the release of this inmate would deprecate the seriousness of his offenses, endanger the community, and serve as an outrageous injustice to the families of the victims who continue to suffer, thirty-eight years after the deaths of their loved ones.


MO: Rape-slayer of young women on three continents.

DISPOSITION: 500 years for three counts in Ill., 1971.

Mark Alan Smith


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