Police: Man accused in triple murder involved in reported rape

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ATLANTA - The family of a mother murdered at an East Point motel in a triple killing is speaking out as police release new details about the accused killer.

Loveitt Wallace was celebrating her 36th birthday Saturday, the same night her family believes longtime friend Joe Smith choked her to death.

Now police said that wasn't even the beginning of his crime spree.

Wallace's family said the mother of two had known Smith for years and there had been no signs of violence. There was no indication of the man police said killed three people and tried to rape another woman all in a span of just four days.

"I just can't believe it. I was shocked," Wallace's sister, Tasha Njie, said.

The Atlanta Police Department said a female friend of Smith's reported last Thursday that he came over to borrow money, then tried to sexually assault her.

The police report said he bit the woman, choked her and hit her in the face when she screamed. Police said they were looking for him when he met up with Wallace.

"Somebody should have stopped him before he killed our family member," cousin Chandra Gallashaw said.

Two days after the reported attack, police said Smith killed Wallace at a Virginia Avenue hotel, then left her body in the room.

"He called his sister and told his sister the address and room number," sister Sonja Ballard said.

Sunday morning, investigators found Smith at an Atlanta townhouse where they said he had killed his wife, Tikey Griffin, and her daughter, Demiya.

"What was his motive? Why did you hurt these innocent people and you didn't do anything to yourself?" asks Gallashaw.

"Joseph needs to get what's coming to him. He never needed to be on the street. If he ever was, he'd never make it. That's a guarantee," Ballard said.

There are conflicting reports on whether Smith and Griffin were actually married.

Wallace's family insists she was no mistress as has been described and would not have been involved with him if he was.



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