Olean House

Olean House resident Edward Smith has been charged with murder after Olean police allegedly found a deceased woman in his apartment.

OLEAN — An Olean House resident was charged with murder Saturday after police found his wife dead in his apartment.

Olean police have charged Edward Smith, 50, of Apt. 331, with second-degree murder, a class A-I felony; first-degree assault, a class B felony; and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class A misdemeanor.

Smith was held overnight Saturday at Olean General Hospital for an unspecified treatment and, when released, will be brought to the Olean Police Department station for booking procedures, said Olean Police Capt. Robert Blovsky.

Blovsky declined to give a possible motive or release the name of the female victim Saturday evening. He would not confirm what Smith and the victim’s relationship to each other was, only that they knew each other.

Bradley Spink, the Cattaraugus County coroner who responded to the apartment Saturday, confirmed that he pronounced the victim dead and identified her as Edward Smith’s wife. He also declined to release her name.

Olean police responded to the Olean House, a federally subsidized housing facility located at 132 N. Union St. for people with low incomes and disabilities, at approximately 6:40 a.m. Saturday after a report of a possible murder in Smith’s apartment. Blovsky declined to say who called police.

Responding officers were met at the door of the apartment by Smith and upon entering the apartment located a deceased female, Blovsky said.

An autopsy will occur Monday, but police currently believe she was killed sometime between midnight Saturday and when officers arrived in the apartment Saturday morning.

Blovsky confirmed the victim was killed with a weapon, but declined to release what kind of weapon.

Smith was taken into custody without incident and brought to the police station, located several hundred feet from the Olean House. Blovsky said Smith then became ill and was taken by ambulance to OGH, where a doctor decided Smith should stay at least overnight.

Several Olean House residents stood outside the complex Saturday afternoon discussing Smith’s arrest. Noel Vazquez, who said he lives on the same floor as Smith, said Smith lived in the apartment with a wife.

He said he saw police in the building around 7 a.m. Saturday, and was shocked to learn Smith had been arrested.

“He was a good friend of mine,” Vazquez said. “I thought he was cool, but when I saw the cops I was like, ‘Oh my God, something must have happened.’ … That’s so sad.”

In February an Olean House resident was charged after allegedly sexually abusing a woman and holding her against her will in his apartment for a month. Francis O’Donnell, 62, pleaded not guilty in March to second-degree kidnapping, a class B felony; two counts of first-degree coercion, class D felonies; four counts of first-degree rape, class B felonies; and four counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, class B felonies. He was incarcerated in Cattaraugus County Jail as of mid-March.

A call to Olean Housing Authority officials Saturday evening was not immediately returned.

The last murder to occur within city limits was the August 2010 shooting death of James A. Williams at his apartment at the corner of Second and West State streets. Allegany resident Martez Terrell Johnson, then 33, pleaded guilty just a month later to first-degree manslaughter, a class B felony.

“This doesn’t usually happen here,” Blovsky said.

Blovsky said families involved in Saturday’s alleged murder are distraught and looking for answers.

“They’re asking why and they weren’t expecting anything like this,” he said. “I’m sure later on down the road you’re going to find out more about why this happened. It’s a hard thing.”

This story has been updated to reflect new information. 

(Contact reporter Tom Dinki at tdinki@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @tomdinki)

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