Don Smith’s Last Ride

December 27, 1947
Los Angeles

He didn’t obey the boulevard stop, so cops pulled him over. Donald I. Smith, 50, sat in his car in front of 1640 S. Robertson and eyed the rearview as the officer walked towards him. By the time the man reached the car, Smith was slumped over the dash with a bullet in his head. He died an hour later in Santa Monica Hospital. File under: you’ll never take me alive, copper.

It didn’t take long to determine that Smith was the man wanted for kidnapping his 14-year-old stepdaughter Sheila Shirley Marilyn Morrison from her aunt’s place in Leucadia on Christmas. The girl had already been found safe in a hotel in La Mesa.

Smith must have known they were going to catch him. He left a series of mocking notes in the car. One read: “To John Law–Greetings, John. Our relations to the best of my memory in the past were never overaffectionate. It’s all been strictly business, so let’s keep it that way. My name is Donald I. Smith. My address is Nebula M-17. Any astronomer can tell you, but it’s too far to bother going there. Nebula M-17 is quite a journey and it may tire your flat feet. Happy New Year and may all your kids be born with flat feet. I was educated at three prisons. I’ve been in jails too numerous to mention. I’ve got a long prison record.”

No one bothered to check to see if Nebula M-17 burned a little dimmer in mourning.