LOCAL : Jimmy Lee Smith, ‘Onion Field’ Killer, Seized on Knife Charge

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Paroled “Onion Field” police killer Jimmy Lee Smith has been arrested for allegedly threatening a man with an 8-inch kitchen knife in mid-April, police said today.

Smith, 59, was arrested in the San Fernando Valley on Tuesday and was placed on “parole hold.” No bail was set.

It was the latest in a series of arrests since Smith was paroled in 1982 after serving 19 years in prison for his role in the 1963 slaying of Los Angeles Police Officer Ian Campbell.

Campbell and Officer Karl Hettinger were abducted in Hollywood by Smith and Gregory Powell and were driven to an onion field south of Bakersfield. Powell killed Campbell and shot at Hettinger, who escaped in the darkness.


The April 18 incident evolved from an argument Smith had with his female roommate, police said. The woman ordered Smith to move out, and when a male friend intervened, Smith allegedly pulled out a knife and threatened to cut him.

Powell and Smith were twice sentenced to death for the killing, but the sentences were reduced to life in prison when the state Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional.