Lakeith Smith, the teen who was sentenced to 65 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, has had his request for a new trial denied.
Smith returned to court Thursday to make the request but it was denied Friday by Judge Sibley Reynolds. Jennifer Holton, Smith’s attorney, said she plans to file an appeal and is exploring all legal avenues to fight for another chance at acquittal, according to WSFA 12.
As the news station reports:
“Holton doesn’t believe the circumstances of the crime fit the statutory requirements for felony murder, which was the crux of her argument Thursday during a hearing.”
“The state argued against the motion for a new trial, citing how they met the statutory requirements for the charge and reminding the court Smith confessed to the crimes in a taped interview with police.”
Reports of Smith seeking a new trial came up several weeks ago. The request stemmed from the 19-year-old being 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.
The shooting occurred back in 2015 when 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 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.”
Source: WSFA 12