October 27, 2022 3 min read


Blackjack Card Counter Accused of Murder, Shows No Emotion

From friends for 30 years to one of the pair ending up dead, Chris Lee’s case is right on the edge between an extremely unfortunate accident and cold-blooded killing. It’s up to the jury to decide the fate of the 63-year-old man.

Claiming Unintentional Manslaughter

The Calgary Herald has been reporting on the murder case of suspect Chris Lee, whose lawyer Cory Wilson had pleaded guilty earlier in the trial. During a cross-examination Lee was reported as being extremely composed, almost showing no emotion when describing how he’d killed Vida Smith allegedly by accident. After being asked how come he was so calm while describing it, he answered that his years of gambling at casinos has taught him to be more dispassionate.

Chris Lee was apparently friends with Vida Smith for around 30 years, and the pair were reported to have been banned from multiple casinos, mostly because of Lee being accused of counting cards. According to the early reports, Lee had Smith at a parking lot, where he was supposed to buy a passport from her for $10,000. However, Lee’s story is that his longtime friend didn’t have the passport and after having gotten the money from him tried to flee.

At this point, the horror for Smith is about to unfold. Calgary Herald’s report state that Lee grabbed Smith around the neck and held her tight for about thirty seconds. According to Lee and his lawyer Wilson, there was no intent of killing Smith, only detaining her, so she couldn’t flee with Lee’s $10,000. The Crown prosecutor – Shane Parker – was reported shedding further light on the murder, painting an entirely different picture.

Prosecutor Tells Different Story

According to Parker, Lee’s cold demeanor is part of a carefully – and deliberately – crafted strategy, and could mean that Lee is capable of intentional murder. Further evidence in the case includes a pair of handcuffs with Smith’s DNA on them, as well as a report by surveillance officers, who claim that Lee disposed of a silencer more than a week after the killing.

Lee had kept Smith’s body close for days, transferring it from his car to another one, which he then used to drive her body away. After being asked about it, Lee has given a very vague answer, and the body was never recovered. According to Parker, Lee had a .45-calibre handgun, and tossing out a silencer, coupled with avoiding to give a precise location for the body is evidence that Smith hadn’t died in that 30-second chokehold but was rather killed with that handgun.

This feels like an elaborate scheme to hide the body and admit to the lesser crime of unintentional manslaughter, according to Parker’s interpretation of the events. Without the body, there’s no definitive proof of how Smith died, hence Lee can indeed play the victim card and plead he wasn’t intentionally trying to kill Smith. However, upon inspection of the second vehicle – an old SUV – the police found multiple loaded guns, more than $40,000 in cash, knives and the mentioned handcuffs with Smith’s DNA on them.

Hearings and examinations on this case are over. It’s all left in the jury’s hands now to make a decision on which story is closer to the truth. If found guilty, Lee isn’t going to be the first gambler involved in murder. He was even reported to have gambled again after committing the crime, further pointing to some sort of behavioral problem, which probably goes further than problem gambling.


Kyamil is a big tech fan, who loves hummus on everything and has enjoyed writing from a young age. From essays, through personal art, to news pieces and more serious tech analysis. In recent years he’s found fintech and gambling collide with all his interests, so he truly shares our core passion for the entire gambling scene and furthering the education of the mass citizen on these topics.

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