Police: Convicted murderer shot hikers on Appalachian Trail

Associated Press - May 9, 2008 6:03 AM ET

PEARISBURG, Va. (AP) - The yellow crime-scene tape is down and a 28-mile section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia is open again, two days after two men were shot and wounded not far from where two hikers were killed in 1981.

And police say the same man is responsible.

Fifty-four-year-old Randall Lee Smith was convicted in the 1981 slayings and was released from prison in 1996. Police say they caught him again Tuesday night when he crashed a pickup truck belonging to 1 of the two men who were shot on the trail earlier in the day. Investigators says Smith is in stable condition at a hospital in Roanoke.

One of the men who were shot is in stable condition. Friends say the other was treated and released.

A spokesman for the sheriff in Giles County, Virginia, says Smith is being charged with attempted capital murder, grand larceny and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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