Lakeith Smith, the Alabama teenager who was sentenced to 65 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, is now asking for a new trial.
The 18-year-old Smith is asking for a new trial or at least a revisiting on his sentence, after he was charged with felony murder for the death of his friend A’Donte Washington, even though Washington was fatally shot by a police officer and not Smith.
If a retrial isn’t possible them Smith’s attorney, Jennifer Holton, has requested that Smith’s sentence be concurrent so that he won’t have to serve his time consecutively or back to back, according to a report from Fox 8.
In 2015 Smith, then 15, broke into two homes with four other teens in Millbrook, Alabama. Midway through the robbery police arrived and a shootout occurred between the teens and officers, with Washington fatally shot during the altercation. Washington allegedly charged at one of the officers with a gun.
Although Smith didn’t shoot Washington he was still charged with the murder as an adult under Alabama’s accomplice liability laws. Because of the laws, Smith “is legally liable for the behavior of another who commits a criminal offense if that person aids or abets the first person in committing the offense.”
Smith was offered a plea deal of 25 years but didn’t accept it, receiving 65 years instead.
Upon receiving the sentencing from Judge Sibley Reynolds, the teen reportedly laughed in response.
“I don’t think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison,” District Attorney C.J. Robinson said. “We are very pleased with this sentence. Because the sentences are consecutive, it will be a long time before he comes up for even the possibility for parole, at least 20 to 25 years.”
However, Smith’s lawyer, Jennifer Holton, argued that the teen didn’t deserve the severe punishment.
“The officer shot A’Donte, not Lakeith Smith,” she said. “Lakeith was a 15-year-old child, scared to death. He did not participate in the act that caused the death of A’Donte. He never shot anybody.”
The other teens involved in the incident — Jadarrian Hardy, Jhavarske Jackson and Le’Anthony Washington — all pleaded guilty. Hardy is scheduled for sentencing in May. Washington is awaiting a new sentencing date, and Jackson was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Each will also stand trial in Montgomery for other crimes.
Source: Fox 8