Teen Turns Down Plea Deal, Ends Up With 65-Year Sentence

18-year-old Lakieth Smith laughs during his sentencing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2018 11:30 AM CDT
Teen Laughs as Judge Gives Him 65-Year Sentence
Lakieth Smith   (Elmore County Jail)

Lakieth Smith probably regrets his decision to turn down a 25-year plea deal offered to the Alabama teen in March. On Thursday, the 18-year-old was sentenced to 65 years in prison on charges of burglary, theft, and felony murder, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. It was actually a police officer, not Smith, who shot and killed 16-year-old A'Donte Washington when officers encountered Washington, Smith, and three others breaking into two homes in Millbrook on Feb. 25, 2015. Some of the suspects fired at police, and Washington was shot four times as he aimed a revolver at one officer, who was cleared of wrongdoing. Under Alabama's accomplice law, a person can be held responsible for a death if it occurs during the commission of a crime. The four remaining suspects were charged.

Jadarien Hardy, 22; Jhavarske Jackson, 23; and La'Anthony Washington, 22, ultimately took plea deals, per the Advertiser. But Smith rejected the 25-year recommended sentence offered. Convicted in March, he smiled and laughed during his sentencing, per WSFA. "I don't think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison," says district attorney CJ Robinson. Noting Smith showed no remorse, Judge Sibley Reynolds handed down a 30-year sentence for felony murder, a 15-year sentence for burglary, and two 10-year sentences for theft, to be served consecutively. "It will be a long time before he comes up for even the possibility for parole, at least 20 to 25 years," Robinson says. His lawyer protested that Smith was 15 and "scared to death" at the time of the crime. He "never shot anybody." (More Alabama stories.)

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