An Alabama teen charged as an accomplice in a burglary crime that resulted in the death of another suspect in the case had turned down a plea deal that would have given him a 25-year prison sentence.
Thursday, as he laughed and smirked in court at the Elmore County courthouse, Judge Sibley Reynolds slapped him with a 65-year prison sentence for “felony murder, armed burglary, second-degree theft and third-degree theft,” Fox 8 Live reported.
Smith was tried under Alabama’s accomplice liability law for the death of the fifth suspect, A’Donte Washington, who charged a Millbrook police officer with a gun and was subsequently shot and killed.
Because Washington was killed during the commission of a felony, all suspects involved were charged with felony murder for his death.
Judge Sibley Reynolds noted that Smith had shown no remorse for his actions during the entire trial process and took no opportunity to apologize.
Reynolds overheard Smith say, “I don’t have time for this” while waiting to be called and, and the judge confronted him about his comments.
“You got plenty of time for this,” Reynolds explained to Smith before handing down the sentence. “When I called the case earlier you said you ain’t got time for this, so I didn’t know if you had time for this now?”
Smith laughed and lowered his head, stating he didn’t know the judge heard him.
Reynolds paused and asked Smith, “You just don’t get it do you?”
“He hasn’t said I’m sorry yet,” the judge went on. “He hasn’t acknowledged to this court that he shouldn’t have done, shouldn’t have come around, in fact, his attitude toward this court and life, in general, has been sour.”
Smith’s grandfather made an impassioned plea for his grandson’s freedom, asking the judge to show mercy.
“Give him a chance to tell you he’s sorry,” the grandfather pleaded with Reynolds.
“He’s had every opportunity,” the judge responded. “I’ve asked two or three times today.”
“Are you sorry?” the grandfather asked Smith then responded he was sorry for his actions and sorry for his “homeboy”, referencing A’Donte Washington.
Chief District Attorney C.J. Robinson noted Smith’s attitude in court.
“After the jury verdict, he was laughing. Today in court he was laughing,” Robinson said. “I have yet to understand what was so funny.”
Fox News provided additional details on the original incident:
On Feb. 23, 2015, Smith, along with four other people, broke into two homes in Millbrook. Police responded to calls of the robberies, and the suspects fired at the officer who entered the home they were raiding. The suspects fled the home but continued to fire at the officer.
One of the suspects, A’Donte Washington, 16, of Montgomery, who was armed with a revolver, allegedly pointed a gun at the officer, body cam footage showed. The officer fired at the teenager, killing him.
Smith was charged with Washington’s death despite not firing the shots due to the accomplice law. A grand jury cleared the officer who fired the shots at Washington.
The other suspects, Jhavarske Jackson, 23, Jadarien Hardy, 22 and La’Anthony Washington, 22, entered guilty pleas of “felony murder, burglary and theft” but have not been sentenced yet.
Lakeith Smith, 19, who didn’t pull the trigger but was charged with felony murder, turned down a 25-year sentence, laughed and got 65 years. DETAILS: https://t.co/4uk5plL2ZU pic.twitter.com/x0BU2rmcTl
— Law & Crime (@lawcrimenews) April 6, 2018
— Twit (@Twit_________) March 15, 2018
Closing arguments have concluded in the felony murder trial of 19 year LaKeith Smith in Elmore County. Judge Sibley Reynolds is charging the jury now on 4 counts: felony murder, armed burglary 1st, 1&2nd degree theft of property @wsfa12news pic.twitter.com/fGegKEpJ1W
— Jenn Horton (@JennWSFA) March 15, 2018