Ala. teen turns down 25-year plea deal, gets sentenced to 65 years instead - and laughs
An Alabama teen laughed Thursday as a judge sentenced him to 65 years in prison for murder and theft after he rejected a plea deal that would have given him 25 years behind bars.
Lakeith Smith, 18, of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced to 65 years by Judge Sibley Reynolds for “felony murder, armed burglary, second-degree theft and third-degree theft,” FOX8 LIVE reported.
Smith smiled and laughed while being sentenced at the Elmore County courthouse. He had turned down a plea deal that would have recommended he spend 25 years in prison on the charges.
“I don’t think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison,” C.J. Robinson, chief assistant district attorney, 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.”
Judge Reynolds said Smith seemed to show no remorse for his crimes during the trial and did not apologize. He also overhead the teen say, “I don’t have time for this.”
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“You got plenty of time for this,” Reynolds told Smith before announcing 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 said he did not know Reynolds heard his comment.
“You just don’t get it, do you?” Reynolds asked. "He hasn't said I'm sorry yet. 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 pleaded with the judge and the teen to give him a chance to apologize.
“He’s had every opportunity,” Reynolds said. "I’ve asked two or three times today.”
“Are you sorry?” the grandfather asked Smith. The teenager replied that he was.
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,” the Montgomery Adviser reported.
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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.
“Standing there in court, I couldn’t help but have compassion for his grandfather, for his family," Robinson said. “Because of his stupidity, they have lost him for 65 years.”