Teen who laughed before 65-year prison sentence wants new trial

Teen who laughed before 65-year prison sentence wants new trial
LaKeith Smith during sentencing on April 5. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - A 19-year-old who laughed and told an Alabama judge he "[didn't] have time for this" before being handed a 65-year prison sentence is asking the court to give him a new trial or at least revisit the sentencing.

LaKeith Smith was sentenced on April 5 for felony murder, armed burglary, and theft.

The motion requests that if a new trial isn't granted, a judge should reconsider the sentence in an effort to make them run concurrently. At this time, Smith is serving his sentence consecutively, or back-to-back, meaning each conviction stacks on top of each other for a total of 65 years behind bars.

Several of the counts in the motion filed by Smith's attorney, Jennifer Holton, were disputed during the trial, including Point 7 in which she says one of the co-defendants testified that Smith was not present during any of the offenses. Prosecutors presented multiple witnesses, including neighbors and law enforcement officers, who spotted Smith in a white hoodie on the scene.

The jury also watched Smith confess to the crime in a recorded interview with a Millbrook police officer.

Smith was the only one of four defendants who did not plead guilty in the death of A'Donte Washington, a fifth suspect in the group that had planned to break into Elmore County houses before being confronted by law enforcement.

Washington charged at a Millbrook police officer with a gun and was subsequently shot and killed. Holton also contends that because police officers shot and killed Washington, her client did not commit felony murder.

Despite not pulling the trigger, though, Smith was tried for Washington's death under Alabama's accomplice liability law, which happened during the commission of a felony.

The other defendants, Jadarrian Hardy, Jhavarske Jackson and Le'Anthony Washington all pleaded guilty. Hardy is scheduled for sentencing in May. Washington is awaiting a new sentencing date, and Jackson was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Each will also stand trial in Montgomery for other crimes.

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