Serial killer who sued over solitary confinement to get $5,000, new wheelchair

Convicted serial killer settles lawsuit over solitary confinement

Convicted serial killer gets new wheelchair in settlement of lawsuit over solitary confinement.

The serial killer who sued to get out of solitary confinement will receive $5,000 and a new wheelchair as part of a settlement in the case.

Lemuel Smith was sent to prison in 1978 for convictions in Schenectady County Court for kidnapping, robbery and rape. While in prison, he killed a female corrections officer in 1981 and was placed into solitary confinement. He is currently behind bars at Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County.

Smith had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Rochester claiming that his indefinite solitary confinement violated Smiths’ constitutional rights including the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. He is kept in his 13-foot by 10-foot cell for nearly 24 hours per day.  

Smith is confined to a wheelchair and has a variety of physical impairments including a spinal condition that limits his mobility, according to the lawsuit. He also takes a variety of medications to guard against heart attack, high blood pressure and prostate cancer.  

A trial had been scheduled for last month, but the case was settled.

Smith agreed to drop all claims and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision admits no wrongdoing. They will pay Smith $5,000 and another $5,000 to his legal counsel, according to the document filed on March 20.

Smith also will be examined by a physical therapist to determine the appropriate wheelchair.