HOUSTON – A 26-year-old woman charged in the slayings of two police officers during a hotel shootout in Louisiana agreed Wednesday to be extradited from Texas.
Also killed in the Friday shootout on the main square of the northeastern Louisiana town was another suspect in the shootings, Dennis Clem, 24, who authorities say was Smith's boyfriend. The two were on the run after Clem fired 17 rifle shots into a truck last month near Houston, killing two, authorities said.
Smith was arrested at a recreational-vehicle park near Interstate 10 after investigators got a tip on her whereabouts. She has been held in the Harris County Jail in Houston.
During Wednesday's extradition hearing, a teary Smith told Harris County Criminal Court at Law Judge Sherman Ross that she would agree to be sent back to Louisiana but feared authorities there.
"I'm afraid they are going to hurt me," said Smith, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit and handcuffed.
"I'm sure they will conduct themselves professionally," the judge responded.
Ross said authorities in Louisiana would have 14 days to pick up Smith. A spokesman for Louisiana State Police did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Authorities believe the officers were investigating Smith and Clem when they were shot in an initial burst of gunfire. Clem was killed in a second volley of shots. Smith was also linked to a stolen vehicle from Texas found at the hotel.
Clem and Smith were wanted for questioning about a July 14 shooting in East Harris County that left two men dead and injured another. Harris County Sheriff's Department Lt. John Denholm said investigators believed Clem was responsible for those deaths.
The July shooting happened after a friend of Clem's got into an argument with several men in a truck. The men were looking for Clem's brother, who had been involved in a car accident with the men, Denholm said.
After the argument, one of the men in the truck shot Clem's friend, Denholm said. He said Clem then shot back, killing two men in the vehicle. Clem's friend survived.
Authorities wanted to question Clem to determine if he had fired back in self-defense. Investigators also wanted to see if Smith knew anything about the shooting.
Harris County authorities had filed a felon in possession of a firearm charge against Clem but were holding off on murder charges, Denholm said.
"We always want to give a suspect a chance to tell his side of the story if you can before you file," he said.
The men in the truck were black and Clem and other individuals in the house were affiliated with the Aryan Circle, a white supremacist prison gang. Denholm said he didn't think race sparked the shooting.