Reward offered in death

The family and employers of a Metairie man killed four years ago in Harvey are hoping that the combination of the Christmas season and a substantial reward will entice someone to finally come forward with information about his death.

Crimestoppers has announced a $15,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and indictment of the person or people who killed Harry Anthony Smith, 36, on Dec. 18, 2008. The reward is being offered thanks to a donation from Smith’s employer Lucky Coin Machine Company Inc. in Metairie.

Fighting back tears, Joan Smith, the victim’s mother, begged someone to come forward and give her the best Christmas she’s had in years. She said she and her husband have struggled to go on since their son was taken from them.

“The world as we knew it came to an end,” said Smith, who described her son as gregarious and well-liked. “It has been extremely painful.”

Gabe Corchiani, one of the owners of Lucky Coin, said that at this time of the year the reality is that many people are looking for extra cash. If that need inspires someone to come forward, then Corchiani and partner John Georges believe the money they are donating has been well spent.

“We want to go ahead and reach out and try to find any information,” Corchiani said. “Anything we can do to help the family at this time is something we’re looking to do.”

Harry Smith was found dead at about 2:30 a.m. in a parking lot at a Burger King on Lapalco Boulevard in Harvey. Smith worked servicing the company’s machines at night and occasionally made payouts. About four hours before his death, Smith’s job lost contact with him, his mother said. Authorities said they found Smith dead in the vehicle with the engine running and the lights on.

Crimestoppers executive director Darlene Cusanaza said the agency is hoping that after several years someone might feel more comfortable coming forward to discuss the crime. Maybe the perpetrator is in custody because of another incident, and there are fewer concerns about retaliation. She said no new leads have come into police for years, and the current reward will be good for slightly more than a year.

“At this point, we have no new information on this coming in,” she said.