Murder suspect Randy Smoot back in jail for alleged tampering with monitoring bracelet

Flint Hill resident Randy Smoot, who had been released on secured bond from the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail while awaiting trial in the death of Harris Hollow resident Jonas “Jay” Alther, is back in jail for violating the terms of his release.

A spokesperson for the RSW Regional Jail in Front Royal told the Rappahannock News that Smoot, 47, was reincarcerated Jan. 23 for “violations of his conditions of release.”

Warrenton based attorneys Mark Williams and Joseph Pricone, who are defending Smoot, had no immediate comment.

However, Rappahannock County court records indicate there was a “violation” surrounding the SCRAM (continuous alcohol monitoring) bracelet Smoot had been wearing to satisfy conditions of his pretrial release and supervision.

“This is a confirmed tamper,” a technician employed to monitor SCRAM compliance had alerted authorities in Rappahannock County. “The client placed an obstruction between his leg and the sensor.”

Furthermore, the tech observed: “The bracelet did detect the presence of alcohol.”

Per conditions of his supervised release, Smoot was ordered to refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal substances.

As a result, Smoot was apprehended and returned to jail for “failure to abide by the terms of the pretrial supervision,” according to the court records.

Smoot, the court records added, “claims to have no knowledge” of bracelet tampering.

A hearing on the apparent bond condition violations will take place on Feb. 16, at which time Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff, who is prosecuting the case, has requested testimony from a SCRAM technician.

Goff pointed out that alcohol monitoring bracelet readings can be highly technical.

At a preliminary hearing in Rappahannock County District Court on Dec. 28, Judge Melissa Cupp certified a first degree murder charge against Smoot to a grand jury.

Smoot had been charged on Oct. 21 with aggravated malicious wounding after he allegedly assaulted Alther on Oct. 19 with a heavy object, believed to be an industrial flashlight.

Hours later, after Alther succumbed to his injuries, Smoot was charged with first degree murder.

In the preliminary hearing, Rappahannock County Sheriff’s investigator James Jones played a recording of the call Smoot made to the RCSO following the assault.

In the recording, Smoot acknowledges having a “knock-down, drag-out” fight with Alther in the driveway of Alther’s home off Harris Hollow Road. Smoot then asks the sheriff’s office to send a deputy to check on Alther.

“I just want to make sure I didn’t hurt him,” Smoot says in the recording.

But Jones testified at the hearing that subsequent interviews with Smoot revealed other details that appeared to conflict with Smoot’s initial account.

The grand jury convened on Jan. 8 to hear the murder charge.

— Patty Hardee contributed to this report

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at