A Life Interrupted: The Epilogue

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Many things made sense in the end.

In March 2006, Marlene Smith was sentenced to serve 18 years to life in prison for Anthony Proviano's murder.

Eleven months later, a Belmont County, Ohio, jury found her ex-husband, Doug Main, not guilty of perjury and obstruction in the case. The jury deliberated less than three hours before returning its verdict.

Special prosecutor Thomas A. Hampton wasn't surprised. He knew going into the trial the case against Mr. Main was weak.

Accordingly, on April 24, he dismissed obstruction and perjury charges against Douglas St. Clair.

Testimony at the earlier trials had revealed Mr. St. Clair's personal relationship with Ms. Smith during the time of Anthony's murder. But the same prosecution witnesses from Mr. Main's trial would have taken the stand, and jurors told Mr. Hampton they were not believable.

Briefs have been filed in Ms. Smith's appeal, but the court of appeals has not scheduled a date for oral arguments.

She has not spoken about the case.

Many other issues, however, remain unresolved.

It's unknown how Anthony met Ms. Smith, or where. Neither have there been answers to why Anthony rented a hotel room, how his gun was used, and how Mr. Main and Mr. St. Clair were involved.

The most important question of all is the one that will never be answered: Why did this happen to Anthony?

His medical school classmates are now in practice, with families and careers. His beloved Z28 Camaro was sold years ago. Photos of him through his first 29 years adorn his parents' home.

A singular pain holds parents who lose a child to murder. The inexplicability and immensity of loss never leave. Any unremarkable part of every day can unexpectedly produce pain.

Anthony's parents believe he intended to help Ms. Smith by getting her a hotel room that cold December night. They'll continue believing that as long as the grim truth remains unknown.

Gallery of key figures
Index to the serial


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