Belushi Death Suspect to Return to L.A. : Cathy Smith Expected to Drop Extradition Appeal in Canada

Times Staff Writer

Cathy Evelyn Smith is scheduled to abandon her appeal of extradition in a Canadian court Monday and return to Los Angeles to face arraignment on charges stemming from the death of comedian John Belushi, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner announced Saturday.

Brian Greenspan, Smith's attorney in Toronto, declined to confirm or deny Reiner's statement, but said that "there will be a press conference in Toronto Monday afternoon."

"I'm a Canadian lawyer who has a matter pending before a Canadian court," Greenspan said. "Until the court is informed, I can't comment."

Belushi, who appeared on the "Saturday Night Live" television program and in several movies, was found dead in a $200-a-day bungalow at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood shortly after noon on March 5, 1982. A few hours later Smith, a former backup singer for Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot, returned to the bungalow in Belushi's rented Mercedes-Benz. She was questioned by police and released.

Quoted in Tabloid

A June 29, 1982, article in the tabloid National Enquirer quoted Smith as saying: "I killed John Belushi. I didn't mean to but I am responsible."

National Enquirer reporter Larry Haley also wrote that Smith told him: "John supplied the coke. I supplied the heroin. I was Florence Nightingale with the hypodermic." A tape recording of the tabloid's interview with Smith was later turned over to the Los Angeles County Grand Jury.

On March 15, 1983, the grand jury indicted Smith on one count of second-degree murder and 13 counts of administering cocaine and heroin to Belushi during the final days of his life.

On Sept. 12, 1984, a Toronto judge ordered Smith's extradition to Los Angeles to face the charges, but Greenspan filed an appeal that effectively stayed the order.

"It's expected that Monday, Smith will abandon that appeal of extradition," said Schuyler Sprowles, Reiner's press secretary.

Reiner's announcement, released by Sprowles, stated: "Pursuant to discussions between the Los Angeles district attorney's office and attorneys for Catherine Evelyn Smith, Smith is scheduled to go into court Monday to abandon her appeal of extradition in the Court of Appeal for the province of Ontario, Canada. She is expected to return to Los Angeles within 24 hours from that time to face arraignment on charges stemming from the death of entertainer John Belushi."

Sprowles said that Smith would appear for arraignment later this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Smith, who is free on bail, denied that she had killed Belushi in her 1984 book, "Chasing the Dragon." She is expected to surrender to Canadian authorities Monday and will probably be accompanied back to Los Angeles by an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department, Sprowles said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World