Serial Killer William Reece Pleads Guilty To The 1997 Murders Of Three Young Texas Women

Convicted murderer William Reece was sentenced to death for another young woman’s murder in August 2021.

12-year-old Laura Smither [left], 20-year-old Kelli Cox [middle], and 17-year-old Jessica Cain [right] were murdered by serial killer William Reece in 1997.

In June 2022, serial killer William Reece pled guilty to the murders of three young women in Texas in 1997.

Photo by: Smither Family [left]; Cox Family [middle]; Cain Family [right]

Smither Family [left]; Cox Family [middle]; Cain Family [right]

Serial killer William Lewis Reece went on a killing spree 25 years ago in the Houston suburbs and beyond. On June 29, 2022, he finally pled guilty to the 1997 murders of 12-year-old Laura Smither and 17-year-old Jessica Cain. After his guilty plea in a Galveston courtroom, Reece was transferred to Brazoria County where he pled guilty in the murder of 20-year-old Kelli Cox who he also killed back in 1997.

Smither vanished in April 1997 while jogging in her Friendswood neighborhood. Her body was later discovered in a Pasadena pond. In July, Cox, who was a student at University of North Texas, disappeared after touring a Denton jail with some classmates. She was last seen at a gas station across the street. She left behind a 19-month-old daughter named Alexis. In August of the same year, Cain went missing after attending a theater cast party. Both Cox and Cain’s remains weren’t found until 2016 after a tip by Reece.

In August 2021, Reece was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston, who was abducted July 26, 1997, from a car wash in Bethany, Oklahoma. Her body was found strangled to death the next day. Over two decades later, DNA linked Reece to her murder.

Reece received three additional life sentences for the murders of Smither, Cain, and Cox.

Gay Smither, Laura’s mother, gave a victim impact statemen in which she thanked Reece for leading police to the bodies of Laura and Cox, and she offered him forgiveness.

According to KHOU-11, the judge told Reece, "I sentence you to life, however your soul shall forever be burned for these heinous crimes you committed here in Galveston County."

Cox’s mother Jan Bynum shared in Volunteers of America, “The greatest crime of all is that Alexis did not get to know her mom and that Kelli did not get to know her daughter. We have tried our best, but there is no replacement for that bond between a mother and daughter. I know only too well.”

ABC 13 reported that Alexis Bynum attended the hearing. She said, “Seeing him, for me, reminds me, I made him out to be something he wasn't. Don't get me wrong, he was a bad man, but he is just a man."

Galveston County DA Jack Roady stated, "It's true that no amount of punishment could heal the wounds suffered by their families and their communities that loved them, but these convictions will help ensure that their murderer will die in prison where he belongs."

“At the end of the day we’re able to shut the chapter on this part of it and not have to worry about him hurting anyone else,” Alexis Bynum said.

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