Independence man gets 22 years in prison for killing his wife

The Examiner staff

An Independence man who admitted to fatally shooting his wife in the summer of 2020 will spend 22 years in prison.

Ryan Smith, 43, was sentenced Tuesday by a Jackson County judge. He had pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder in the July 2020 shooting death of Daina Smith at their home in Independence. 

According to court documents, officers were sent to the Smiths’ house in a neighborhood just east of Noland Road on reports that a man had shot his wife. Outside the house, a man pointing at a Jeep yelled, “That man shot my mom.” Police quickly stopped the vehicle, and the driver, Ryan Smith, told police a stranger had shot his wife. Inside the home, police found Daina Smith dead with a gunshot wound to the head. 

One of Daina Smith’s sons said a family friend called him saying Ryan Smith had called him and said something bad had happened with their mom. That son then called Ryan Smith, who immediately answered and said, “I shot your mom in the head. I need help.” 

When the son tried to call his mother without success, the son’s wife called 911. Both sons said their mother had been unhappy with Ryan Smith’s drinking and was considering a divorce. 

Another witness out of town on work told police by phone that Ryan Smith, whom he described as a bad alcoholic, had called him and said, “I just killed my wife” and “I (screwed) up” repeatedly. 

According to court documents, Ryan Smith told police detention personnel that he was suicidal and traumatized after watching his wife kill herself. The medical examiner’s office determined Daina Smith’s wound came from the left side. Her son said she was right-handed and had never been suicidal. Ryan Smith later refused to talk with police.  

He had a previous conviction in 2007 for unlawful use of a weapon in a domestic violence incident in which his wife was listed as the victim.