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A Missouri man has been found guilty of beating his own father to death with a golf club as the dad attempted to intervene in a fight between his son and his son's girlfriend.
A jury found Nicholas Smoot, 29, guilty of second-degree murder as well as armed criminal action and domestic assault in the second degree, the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office announced in a Thursday press release.
Smoot's father, Eric Smoot, 53, was killed as he tried to protect Nicholas Smoot's girlfriend in December of 2019.
“[Nicholas] Smoot assaulted his then girlfriend by biting her” and his father “attempted to stop the assault,” according to the press release.
“Smoot struck his father several times in the stomach with a golf club causing his death,” the release continues.
The girlfriend, Hannah Pfeiffer, suffered injuries to her head and arms during the incident, according to Missouri outlet KMOV. She told investigators that Nicholas forced her down on a bed and floor before biting her arm and nose.
She also said that Eric Smoot tried to intervene and diffuse the violence, at which point Nicholas turned on him. The son picked up a metal golf club and used it to strike his dad at least twice. When investigators arrived at the scene, they said that Nicholas was holding a bottle over his dad as though he wanted to strike him with that, too.
Eric was pronounced dead at a hospital a few hours after the attack.
Both men and Pfeiffer, 28, lived in the house together. She testified against Nicholas during his three-day trial, Leader Publications reported. A 911 call she made was also played for jurors in which she told a dispatcher, “my boyfriend’s going crazy.”
During the trial, Nicholas’ defense unsuccessfully tried to maintain that he didn’t mean to kill or even hurt his father, following a night of drinking.
Eric was a retired captain with the Hillsboro Fire Protection District. After volunteering for a decade, he became a full time employee in 1991. He retired in 2014.
“Captain Smoot was a friend to all in the community and a mentor to firefighters across Jefferson County for many decades," Fire Chief Brian Gaudet said following the murder, according to KMOV.
Nicholas will be sentenced on Feb. 22.
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