Trial begins for man charged with murdering former sailor


ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) — Trial is underway in Isle of Wight County for a man accused of murdering a former sailor.

Police charged Eric Saub with killing Jean Marie Smith, former U.S. Navy sailor, in 2015. A hunting group found her body in a rural area of Isle of Wight County.

         According to an autopsy report, she died from a single   gunshot wound to the head.

Saub has claimed his innocence and has represented himself in previous court appearances. 

“My [last] attorney tried to set trial without any investigations done at all,” Saub told 10 On Your Side last March. “I may not have experience in courtroom procedures, but I’ve read enough cases to know what the standard of proof is.”

This all goes back to April 2015.  Investigators believe Smith and Saub had recently traveled to Florida together.  They returned April 15th.  Detectives say evidence shows she was killed later that afternoon in a wooded area off of Hatcher’s Lane.

We know Saub was a tenant of Smith’s grandmother, who has passed away in the last year.

In court on Tuesday, the prosecution brought many witnesses forward, including detectives, forensic specialists, and more.

One detective shared a story Saub told him.  He said Saub told him that Smith had stolen silver on their trip to Florida, and they buried it in the woods in Isle of Wight.  The location Saub described was not far from where Smith’s body was found.  Two years after Saub had been charged, he led detectives to that wooded area, where did not find any silver, but did find a shovel and rake.  The investigator said Saub knew where the tools were, and they were only a few hundred feet from where Smith’s body was found. 

Another detective says she saw a scratch on Saub’s head when she interviewed him and it looked like it came from a tree.

Investigators say Saub is currently wanted in Oregon for warrants involving fraud, and has previously been convicted in the state 12 times for a variety of financial and identity type frauds.

We know the prosecution is holding off on a lengthy testimony for Wednesday.  Saub will be able to call his own witnesses.


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