Man convicted of murdering 83-year-old Kenoza Lake woman has died in prison


COMSTOCK – Toby Smith, 48, serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of 83-year-old Lorraine Gempler has died in prison.  Smith was serving his sentence at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York.

Toby Smith

On September 24, 2018, Smith attacked his neighbor and victim, Lorraine Gempler in her home in the Town of Delaware.  He beat her with a heavy blue glass vase and strangled her to death.  When a neighbor and friend, David Slater, arrived to visit, he saw Smith standing over Mrs. Gempler’s beaten and bleeding body, and called 911.   Smith exited the house and attacked Slater with the same vase.

Smith and Slater fought until another neighbor joined Slater and subdued the assailant until Sullivan County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and took Smith into custody.

Smith was prosecuted by then Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell.  After the December 2019 conviction, Farrell said “Today the defendant was held accountable and responsible for the brutal murder of an innocent and widely beloved member of the community, Lori Gempler, and his separate attack on the man who caught him in the act.”

Smith entered the prison on December 24, 2019, and remained behind bars until his death on May 4, 2022.

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