ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton man will go to trial for the murder of a woman whose body was found in a wooded area of Isle of Wight County.
It’s been nearly one year since investigators say a hunter found the body of 25-year-old Jean Marie Smith off of Courthouse Highway. Investigators believe Eric Saub of Hampton, who previously lived with Smith and thought of her as a sister to him, shot Smith in the head. After his arrest, he told WAVY News he did not kill her.
“We just want to see justice served, and the victim’s family to have some closure,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips.
In court Thursday, prosecutors argued that Saub and Smith’s cell phones were near the scene of where her body was found, around the time that she died. Saub’s DNA was found on Smith’s pant legs and shoes, Phillips said.
Defense attorney Julian Bouchard said there was no physical evidence linking Saub to the crime.
“The fact is there’s no direct evidence. There’s no motive…there’s no casing, there’s no gun, and that’s going to be problematic for the Commonwealth,” Bouchard said.
A judge certified the charges to a Grand Jury after hearing testimony from seven witnesses, including investigators with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Babatunde Stokes.
Stokes testified that he could not say exactly when the victim died. Lt. Tommy Potter testified that Smith’s laptop was found in the trash at the home where Saub lived, but the defendant said he had no idea how it got there, Potter testified.
The victim’s family did not want to comment following the hearing. Saub has been charged with first degree murder and two gun crimes.