HARRISONBURG — It has been nearly two years since an Elkton man was accused of stabbing a man with Parkinson’s disease.

After a Rockingham County grand jury indicted the man on Monday, Donald Lee Smith, 43, pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding.

He will remain in custody at the Rockingham County Jail.

On Tuesday, his attorney, Hunter Jackson, told Judge T.J. Wilson that he had reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Prior to appearing at Rockingham County Circuit Court on Thursday, an appeal for Smith to be released on bond was withdrawn.

Smith was sentenced to five years with three years suspended. Upon release, he will be under supervised probation for three years.

Smith’s son, Matthew Jacob Smith, entered an Alford plea in April 2018 to felony unlawful wounding and misdemeanor animal cruelty in circuit court in connection to the case.

With an Alford plea, the defendant doesn’t admit guilt but concedes there would be enough evidence for a conviction if the case went to trial.

As part of the plea deal, Smith, then 22, received a six-year sentence with all but nine months suspended.

The investigation into the pair began when deputies responded to a reported stabbing at about 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2017, in the 4200 block of Park Way, about 3 miles north of Elkton. There, Rockingham County deputies found 63-year-old Jimmy Riddle with multiple stab wounds.

Riddle testified at a preliminary hearing against Matthew Smith that he was with his wife showing the property to a woman interested in purchasing it. Prosecutors said Matthew Smith pulled up on a four-wheeler and asked if they had seen a dog. The group pointed out a nearby pit bull, and Matthew Smith started beating the animal.

When Riddle’s wife confronted Matthew Smith, he shouted at her and Jimmy Riddle rushed to defend his wife. At that point, Riddle said, Matthew Smith attacked him and ordered the dog to bite him.

During the scuffle, Matthew Smith’s father, Donald Smith, came down the road and started stabbing Riddle from behind.

The Smiths left the scene before deputies arrived. They were arrested at about 7 p.m. the next day in the Penn Laird area.

Donald Smith has been held without bond at Rockingham County Jail since his arrest.

Contact Jessica Wetzler

at 574-6279 or


Follow Jessica on Twitter