“I know I’m going to die”

Michelle Smith, 33, was divorced in Georgia in 2003. In moving on, she moved to Florida. While there she had
worked lately as a bartender. Considered friendly, joking, and nice, she is reported to have been well liked.

In March or April she met Orland Nathan Hanks, a subcontractor for a flooring store. He was known as a good worker, always in a good mood and a funny guy. He was also known to be in love with Smith. The two have been reported as living together for a time. A neighbor there reported that that residence was quiet, but that Smith had told a neighbor that she was afraid that Hanks was going to kill her. In June Smith moved to a different address with a friend.

Allegedly on July 5 Hanks had followed Smith home and an argument developed over the relationship. Allegedly Hanks then swallowed some pills. Smith told the court this was not the first suicide attempt. Smith applied to the court for a no-contact order. It was denied on July 6, as she had not supplied enough evidence. Twice on July 7 th, Smith met with sheriff’s deputies to talk about her complaints. Smith told deputies that she was afraid of Hanks. During one of the “disturbance” calls, Hanks told an officer he had just been released from a mental health center. Allegedly Smith told a deputy that Hanks “could be anywhere in town, that he owned Bradenton.”

Less than a week later, Smith again applied to the court for a no contact order based on new allegations and this time it was granted. It was also ordered that he could not own or possess a gun or ammunition.

July 17 th, it is alleged that Hanks violated the restraining order by repeatedly calling Smith’s cell phone. Deputies spoke with Hanks- at a gas station and Hanks denied making the calls.

According to the landlord, she also changed the locks at the new address in July. Also per the landlord, Hanks had entered Smith’s address and then called Smith and hung up, allegedly just to let her know he was there. It is also reported that Smith changed her cell phone number, because of Hanks’ calling. Reportedly when he called, he did something that prevented his number from showing up on her caller ID.   

Last Tuesday, there was a hearing. Reportedly Hanks had violated the no contact order. Hanks was not arrested, instead the sheriff’s office asked the state attorney to review the case to see if criminal charges could be filed. Reportedly state prosecutors had planned to talk to Smith, about pursuing the criminal charges. One article alleges that that a prosecutor said there was no immediate danger.

Hank’s car was found near Smith’s house Fri. Police theorize that he parked and walked to Smith’s house. The roommate reports that she went to take a shower, and when she came out Smith was gone. Police theorize that Hanks may have forced her to leave at gunpoint.

“Hi, Mommy. It’s Michele. It’s nearly 6:30 on Friday morning and I’m being told I should call you to tell you I love you. There’s a man with a gun. I wish you would answer. I love you. Bye.”  When Michelle’s mother got up on Fri. morning, that is the message she found on her answering machine. By the time she got the message, Michelle was already dead. Michelle also called her sister, and reportedly told her “I know I’m going to die.”

Several witnesses then tell what happened next. It is reported they were in the middle of a road and that they struggled. They say that Orland Hanks shot Michelle Smith in the head. Then he walked to the side of the road and shot himself in the head.

According to several articles this was not the first allegation of domestic violence for Hanks. He was charged last year with aggravated stalking of an ex-girlfriend, but that charge was dropped because prosecutors could not prove that it was Hanks who initiated the contact.
And an ex-wife has also complained of problems, though it is not stated if she ever filed charges.




A previous history of allegations of domestic violence, current complaints of domestic violence, emotional instablility indicated by the allegation of suicide attempts and Hanks statement to an officer that he had just gotten out of a mental health treatment center, allegations of stalking and telephone harrassment (previous and past), allegations that he had violated a court ordered no- contact order? And they were “talking” about filing criminal charges? They were “going” to talk to her? No “immediate danger”?

Smith changed her locks, got a new cellphone number, asked friends and neighbors to help her watch out for Hanks, filed police reports, followed through on court hearings. And when the no contact order was denied, she filed more complaints, made more police reports and followed though on more court hearings, till she finally got the order! Then when the order was violated, she made more complaints and police reports, and followed through with hearings!

I don’t know if Hanks “owned” Bradenton. But the system sure seems to have broken down in Michelle Smith’s case. And she paid for that with her life.


More details on the current domestic violence allegations. More details on the previous domestic violence allegations with Powers, a previous girlfriend and mother of his child.


More detail on what led up to the murder. Police do believe it was premeditated.




  1. Lynn said,

    September 15, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    just for the record, I am Michele’s oldest sister and spoke with her seconds before Orland had shot her, I spoke to Orland as well. Michele was only married once and was in the process of a divorce, the papers were not filed at the time of her murder but she did indeed have a folder in her computer desk marked divorce papers. When I spoke to her at 6:50am she said there was a man with a gun and he is going to kill me, I said what the f**k are you talking about? No one is going to kill anyone, I had asked his name and she said Orland, I then asked her what race he was. She told me he was white. I did not know she knew him, we did not get to talk frequently because of our schedules. I then said to her why would he kill you? He would be arrested. She then stated that he planned to kill himself. I then asked to speak with him. I could hear him giving her driving directions, where to turn, etc… Orland gets on the phone and I asked him in a very nice tone, Hi Orland, what is going on down there? His reply “nothing” he then handed her back the phone and said to her “do you want your sister to have to hear this?” She then told me that she loved me and to tell everyone that she loved them. Now I hear her say I have to use the bathroom and heard the car door ajar signal, I said hello Michele? a few times then hung up the phone because I heard no reply. At that point she ran from him and they struggled, he pushed her down and then shot her in the back of the head. She had left me a message earlier that morning at 6:36am and was a bit sarcastic, I guess at that time she did not believe he would kill her, but when I spoke to her at 6:50am I could hear concern in her voice and she sounded like she was going to cry.. I did not believe that this could be possible. Not Michele…I still am having a hard time believing this even though the day after her murder I packed her things.. I cannot believe another human being could do this to a family…not again….not to her… He was fully aware that we had lost our little sister to a drunk driver in 1996 Jamielynn Gildersleeve….Michele never recovered from her death, they were so close in age… Now they are together buried side by side..I miss them both…….

  2. September 15, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    Lynn, I am so very sorry for your loss. And you are right, this should never happen to any person or any family. You, your parents all have my deepest sympathy. I wish there was something I could say or do to comfort you, but I know that nothing really helps right now. Please care for yourselves and each other.

    I also lost a sibling in an auto accident, and that is something that maybe you recover from, but never really get over. For you to lose another sibling and in this way, I am sure the mourning is compounded. Michelle and Jamielynn may no longer be with you, but a part of them still remains. You still have their love and the memories. Not as much as you would like I know, and not nearly enough- but those are things that cannot be taken away from you.

  3. Patti Spingola said,

    October 10, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    I was Michelle’s upstairs neighbor when she lived at the Colonial Grand apartments right before she moved in with this freak. We knew each other for about a year. I was there when she met him. My husband got her the job at the Banana Factory because he was a bartender at Aces and knew the manager. Michelle would tell me that she would have to close late at night by herself and I was always concerned for her. Then she told me that this guy Orland would stay with her while she closed so she wouldn’t be alone. I didn’t think she was dating him because she had a boyfriend named Dave that she was living with at the time. I guess Dave found out that she was seeing Orland and went crazy one night when he found Orland at her apartment after he had moved out and broke down the door. Orland was there and got into and fight with Dave. Michelle would alway tell me that she loved Dave but he had anger issues. She was afraid of him but I don’t think she thought he would hurt her. After that night Michelle started seeing alot of Orland. I remember him always being there. Even when she didn’t want him to be. Sometimes he would wait for her on her patio until she got home. Michelle told me once that it annoyed the hell out of her. Talking to him he seemed like a normal guy with the best of intentions. Michelle and I talked frequently about her situation with Dave and Orland and looking back on it I remember thinking how much more easy going Orland was and that he might be better for her. Boy was I wrong. They say it’s always the quiet ones that have the most to hide. Soon after she met Orland she moved out and so did we. The same week. She told me where she was living but didn’t want me tell my husband since he was friends with Dave and she didn’t want him to know. We moved back to Long Island and I never got to say goodbye to her. The day she died my husband got a call from Dave at 10:00am telling him what had happened. He said knew this would happen and he only wanted to protect her. He told my husband that she had called him too that morning. I was in complete shock and still am over this whole thing. Michelle loved life and was happy and didn’t deserve her horrible end. My only comfort is to know that she is with her sister Jamielynn who she spoke of often. I think about her alot and pray for her family. Michelle was beautiful inside and out. Everytime she saw my infant son she would play with him and than talk about her sisters kids. I really hope that her death will serve as an example to this crappy system. Michelle we miss you everyday and I will never forget the good times we had…….

  4. Lynn said,

    December 14, 2006 at 12:33 am

    Hi Patti,

    I have to tell you, if it was not for Dave pulling a gun on Orland, Michele might still be here. Michele knew Orland was a problem, but she wouldn’t leave until Orland dropped the charges against Dave. She spoke with her ex-husband to be daily, he offered to pay for a plane ticket, even my mother begged for her to move in with her. Bottom line, If Dave did not pull a gun on Orland, Michele might still be here.

  5. The Purvis Family said,

    January 22, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Michele was one of our friends, and it is still hard for us to drive by the spot where Orland took our friend from us. I cry when i hear certian songs on the radio. There were plenty of people who knew of what Orland was capable of and yet no one seemed to want to get involved. Our hearts go out to your Family, but to know now that she is angel and in peace that helps our hearts. Our hearts go out to your family.

  6. Linda (Michele's Mother) said,

    March 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    It’s taken this long to comment. What does one say? Michele was my third born and Oh! so Beautiful from day one. I have a difficult time still, talking about her. But now I think it’s about time.
    We would talk periodically and she would tell me of what was going on in a real concerned voice. Then she would say, “it all is OK and everything is under control”. At Several different times she would say “Mommy, I’m coming to visit you, what do you need done around the house”? “I’ll paint for you, etc.”. Needless to say, I never got the pleasure. :o(
    At times, she would ask me and her sister if we got any phone calls on our cell phones from “Him”, She was very concerned because she said he had our phone #’S. But we never did get any calls from “Him”.
    It’s been almost 2 years now and I have had plenty of time to think.
    And early on, the more I thought, the more I was convinced that she never came to visit me because she knew that “He” knew where I lived and was afraid for us. That our lives were in danger too. So again, Needless to say,
    She never came to visit me. How sickening!
    I can still hear her Phone Message over and over in my head………………..
    “Mommy, there is a man with a Gun and he is telling me to call you to tell you I Love you. Mommy, I wish you would pick up. Mommy, I Love You”.
    Each day I die a little more.

  7. March 29, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Linda, losing a child is one of the hardest things for a parent. But losing a child to murder is horrendous. But the way this happened, the way you talk about Michelle, you can hear the love. That is what you need to hold onto.

    No you weren’t able to get the phone when she called. That is not your fault. He chose the date and time that she would die. And had you answered that phone you still could not have saved her, because he wouldn’t have allowed her to say where she was. And she would still have died soon after. And that phone call would still have reverberated in your mind. You may feel that you weren’t there for her. But that too was out of your hands, he did not give you that choice.

    You didn’t get a chance to tell her you loved her. But I believe she knew how much she was loved. You could tell that from her words in the phone call, from her being so protective of you and even from how you talk about her. Had you answered that call you would still have felt just as helpless. But she didn’t die because she wasn’t loved enough. And I believe she knew she was loved. That phone call that she made showed a lot of guts. She sounded so brave. And still in the call, she showed her love and protectiveness for you.

    It has been two very long years since she died. I know it probably doesn’t feel like things have progressed much. You still hurt, you still have some trouble talking about it. But you are making progress. Just the fact that you were able to comment here shows your progress. I know you probably have good days and bad days. And probably some days when you think you can’t go on. But I would like to ask you a question. What do you think that Michele would have wanted for you after her death? How do you think she would have wanted you to live your life? I think she would have wanted to be remembered with love, but I think she would have wanted you to heal and to go on living and loving and sharing with the rest of the family. I believe that because of how protective she was of you in life.

    I don’t know if this would help you. But there are a couple of groups that you might be interested in. They are listed on the left under Grief Support. They are Compassionate Friends and Parents of Murdered Children. The groups are composed of other parents who have lost children, parents who have also stood in your shoes. And the children can be of any age. There is at least one group in most areas of the US. My parents used Compassionate Friends after my brother was killed in an accident and it was helpful. They meet on a regular basis, learn about grief, about the different ways of grieving, and more than anything they share- the grief, the love, the memories and how to go on…. but without pressure, because grief is individual. Each person moves on in their own time. If you think one of the groups might be helpful to you, then check out their websites and I believe they give info on how to find them in your area- or they might be in the telephone book.

    And any time you wish to come back here, to share a memory or talk about what happened please feel free. You can also come back just to talk about how you are doing.

  8. April 3, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I am so sorry for yor loss.i am crying as I am reading this.To lose two daughters .I lost my daughter in 2006,she was 23.I know your pain.
    I am holding close to my heart.
    peace and Light

  9. Linda said,

    November 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    When my first child Jamielynn was killed by a Drunk Driver, of course it was devastating. Our lives were changed forever. Michele would call me up all of the time and cry over Jamielynn as they were bosom buddies. Our lives and family had changed forever. Now, since Michele was MURDERED, We have no more family as all of that changed too. But….. I plug along and through the grace of God, I see each day. My life is not the same anymore and I just can’t get back into living again in this tragedy, as I just exist. The one thing that has not been taken from me is my Faith. I am not doing any better, but again God sees me through each day and that is all I can ask for until we reunite again.

    You know, when you live far away from your children it’s rough but you know in your Heart they are safe and you can plan to see them, or they are just a phone call away.
    Life just has no meaning anymore.
    Michele’s Mom

  10. December 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Linda, I have never lost a child. So I can’t say that I know just how you feel. I do know that the holidays are the worst. No matter how near or how far away your children lived, no matter how often you saw them or talked to them holidays without them are somehow the worst. And it doesn’t matter how long it has been either.

    I have a question for you. What do you think that Michelle would want you to do? She loved you, that was very apparent. And I would bet that JamieLynn did too. I think they would want you to reach out for what you need to find meaning in your life. Whether that meant reaching out to counseling or taking on a new and interesting project. Whatever you can do to give your life meaning again.

    I do know what you mean about your life being empty, and most likely you don’t feel any interest in finding new interests and another part of life. But we all need other interests and if both of the girls were alive, you would have had those other interests. I know of some parents who have worked on setting up memorials, some have taken to working to change what led to their children’s deaths. Some join gyms, take dance classes or take up new hobbies. Some travel, some join a church. For every person it is different.

    But you need to give yourself permission to live and to go on with your life. I know that somehow that seems wrong, that anyone should lose two children and move on with their life like it never happened. But it won’t be that way. Yes the goal is to move on, but it won’t be like it never happened. You will still have the beautiful memories, and those you will never forget. And yes, it will still hurt sometimes. But when you give yourself permission to move on, and develop other goals and interests it does help.

  11. Nanette said,

    February 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I considered Michele one of my closest friends. We hung out together when she lived here in Jersey and also worked together. When she moved we still kept in touch via IM on the computer and also by phone. Sometimes we missed each other but still made it a point to reach each other no matter what time it was. I still have her screen name on my buddy list…peanutlove72…I cannot bring myself to delete it…I have her pictures in my folder on the desk top…I bring them up and sit and chat with her as if she was sitting across the table from me. I know….sounds stupid but I could care less what anyone thinks. I loved Michele like a sister. She listened to me and helped me thru some tough times I was having. She would make me laugh. For a while after her death, I was waiting for her ex husband to get in touch with me. He took my number and said he would call me when he had gotten some photos of Michele together so I could have them. He never called. I was also going to see if there was something little of Michele’s that I could have to keep with me at all times(a refrigerator magnet…a clip….anything) I tried calling his moms house and never got an answer. I am a little bummed still after 2 years. I miss her terribly and I still find myself depressed around the anniversary day of her death.

  12. Lynn said,

    February 13, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Hi Nanette,

    I miss her as well, as for snigly well he always makes promises he cannot keep, Email me lmmb@comcast.net and I will send you some pictures that I have of her, I lost your phone number when I switched phones so call me. He promised us pictures as well but that never happened and I knew it wouldnt so when we were down at her house packing up her things I burned so of her pics to a disc. I have been thinking about her alot and wish she was here to meet her niece. Brianna always points to the pictures of her and Jamielynn and of course I get all choked up and try to tell her aunt michele and aunt jamielynn are her angels. I always ask myself why did she have to move to FL? If she never left NJ she probally would still be here.

  13. Cheri Werking Griffith said,

    November 5, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Hi Lynn. This is Cheri Werking. I went to school with Lori and Michelle. I graduated in ’90. I remember you somewhat also. I just learned of Michelle’s passing and just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I just wanted you to know that I found out on a group in facebook which is dedicated to those who have went to Lacey and passed away. I did post that story there so that people will know what happened to her. Would you mind sending me a few pictures to remember her by? Once again I am so sorry…It makes me sick JerryandCheri@comcast.net

  14. Bryan Quinn said,

    December 16, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Lynn and family,

    You may remember me. Michele and I dated and lived together for over 2 years in Alpharetta. We came and stayed in New Jersey in 1998.

    I just learned that Michele was killed from this site. I am so sorry. I am sitting here at the computer with a loss for words and tears streaming. Michele was a wonderful person and I loved her very much. I am blown away by this horrible act so much because weeks prior to her death, Michele called me in Spokane Washington. I had been trying to find her and contact her for years.

    We spoke on the phone for over 2 hours to catch up on everything that has happened with us over the passed years. I told Michele to call me if she ever needed anything and we hung up the phone. A week later I called her back and never heard from her again.

    Please give my heart felt condolences and love to you your family.

    Bryan Quinn

  15. dave beliveau said,

    February 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    happy birthday michelle you have been missed by many love dave

  16. Bryan Quinn said,

    February 10, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Michele you are loved and missed.



  17. Bryan Quinn said,

    February 10, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Happy Birthday!!!

  18. Lynn said,

    February 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Bryan,

    Do you have any of her belongings?? I know she left alot behind and would love to have anything that was hers for my daughter that she was never able to meet. How r u? It has been a very long time. I am sorry you found out now, it has been a rough couple of years… I named my daughter Brianna Michele…… Hope to hear from you.


  19. Lynn said,

    February 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Brian, you can email me at perfectlyflawed68@verizon.net

  20. Lynn said,

    February 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    plz email me bryan


  21. Linda ~ Michele's Mother said,

    February 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I come here and read these posts from time to time and my thoughts are that Michele is the true meaning of the word “Hero” as she knew she was going to be MURDERED. My breath always gets taken away each time I visualize that horrific day of hers. The only thing I can contribute to my peace (If you can call it that) is that, In this Life “What Goes Around Comes Around” and that Justice is always served sooner or later.
    I just could never understand why someone would commit a crime when they know that sooner or later they will get caught??? If they are so called lucky to not be caught, then It no doubt will haunt them the rest of their lives.
    It just amazes me…

    Rest In Peace, Michele
    My True HERO
    For you are the meaning of a True HERO

    Love, Mom

  22. Snidley said,

    March 22, 2010 at 4:31 am


    Please email me. I lost your contact information in all the confusion that was happening at the time. You an find me on FaceBook, please look me up I’m sorry it took me this long to reach out.

  23. LInda Gildersleeve said,

    August 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    My Heart is still Broken even though it is 4 years and my Breath is taken from me and I gasp each time I think of what happened.
    Your Sister Jamielynn, every bit as much too.
    No more site for Jamielynn so I will post my thoughts on here too along with my posts for you…….

    Rest In Peace My Michele & Jamielynn

    Love you Forever, and miss you terribly 😦

  24. Linda Gildersleeve said,

    February 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    38 Years ago Today Michele was Born.
    Such a perfect Baby she was.
    Coloring, round face and a nice head of hair.

    Michele, If I could call you in Heaven I would tell you how very much
    I miss you and that we had so much more to do in life together along with your sister Jamielynn…..

    I Love and miss you more than you could have ever known.

    Love Forever, Mommy

  25. Laura said,

    April 10, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Hello Linda and Lynn,
    It’s Laura, Jamie’s friend. I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I just want you to know how much I still think about and miss Jamie, and although Michele and I were not close, I grieve for her as well. I wish there were words to tell you how I feel, but I guess you’re all too familiar with the inadequacy of words. I just believe they are together in Heaven, doing all the silly sister stuff we were privileged enough to witness, and being each other’s comfort and support, guarding over all their loved ones. I wish all of the best for your family, and I love you all, even those of you I never met… there’s something so strong, and special, and enduring in all of you. God Bless You All!

  26. Lynn said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Laura,

    Of course I remember you….please email me. I am still in forked river and would love to see you. I think of you ofter 🙂


  27. Lynn said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm


    please email me @ lbiagi@verizon.net

  28. Lynn said,

    April 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm


    please email me lbiagi@verizon.net

  29. Linda said,

    April 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for the compliments to our family. It is difficult to hear the song “I Love the Rainy Nights” and some of the NKOTB songs etc. It brings me back to when the 3 of you hung around, Jamielynn you & Amy even though they were good times. Tomorrow she will be gone 15 years…. : (
    As for Michele? I haven’t come to grips with that yet.
    If you would like to email me too, you certainly can.

    Thanks for being her friend.
    Jamielynn Loved her Friends….. : )

  30. Linda said,

    April 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    And you know Laura, yes we did have a great bond once and we all had lots of fun when all of you would gather at my house & hang out. You all wore a path in my rug from the front door to my bedroom dresser where most of you gathered to put makeup on and do your hair…..Lol

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