Teen turns down plea deal for 25 years in prison,gets 65 years instead

An Alabama teen who had turned down a 25-year sentence in a plea deal laughed and smiled in court on Thursday as he was sentenced to 65 years in prison for felony murder and other charges. Smith smiled and laughed through the sentencing, said C.J. Robinson, chief assistant district attorney. Smith flashed a broad smile March 14 as he was led out of the courtroom shortly after the verdicts were announced.

Lakieth Smith, 18, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds for his role in the crimes. Smith was convicted in March, following a two-day trial. Reynolds handed down a 30-year sentence for felony murder, a 15-year sentence for burglary and two 10-year sentences for the two theft convictions. Reynolds then ordered the sentences to be served consecutively.

“I don’t think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison,” 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.”

Smith was charged under Alabama’s accomplice law, which holds co-defendants can be guilty of murder if a death occurs when they are committing a crime, even if the accomplice is not the person who directly caused the death.

Five people broke into two homes in Millbrook on Feb. 23, 2015. Smith was part of that group. Millbrook police officers responded to a call of a burglary in progress. One of the co-defendants began shooting at an officer as he entered the home. Testimony brought out that several of the co-defendants fired at the officer. The suspects left the home and ran into the backyard, still firing at the officer.

A’Donte Washington, 16, also of Montgomery, ran out of the backyard through a gate in the privacy fence. Police officer body camera footage played in court during Smith’s trial showed he was armed with a 38 cal. revolver. Washington ran toward another officer, pointing the gun at the officer, the footage shows. The officer fired his sidearm four times, striking and killing Washington.It was Washington’s death that Smith was charged with. An Elmore County grand jury cleared the officer that fired the fatal shots.

The other co-defendants in the case; Jhavarske Jackson, 23, Jadarien Hardy, 22 and La’Anthony Washington, 22, all of Montgomery, entered guilty pleas on charges of felony murder, burglary and theft, courthouse records show. They await sentencing.


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