Jimmy Lee Smith, one of the "Onion Field" killers who kidnaped two police officers in Hollywood and later gunned one of them down near Bakersfield, will be on his way back to Los Angeles today after being released from Soledad State Prison.
"I talked to Jimmy as he was getting ready to leave, and I really think he can make it this time, if he is allowed to get a job at what he does best and is not harassed," said the Rev. Rex Burns, a Monterey minister who has been helping Smith prepare for the transition.
This is Smith's third release from prison since his conviction, with Gregory Powell, for the 1963 kidnaping of Los Angeles Police Officers Karl Hettinger and Ian Campbell and the subsequent slaying of Campbell in a remote onion field in Kern County.
The crime was the subject of Joseph Wambaugh's best-selling book, "The Onion Field," and was made into a movie.
Smith, 56, was first paroled in February, 1982, but was returned to prison four months later after disappearing and then testing positive for drug use when he turned himself in to authorities. He admitted using heroin.