On April 5, LaKeith Smith was sentenced to 65 years because a cop shot and killed A’Donte Washington in Elmore County, Alabama. Washington, Smith, who was 15 at the time, and three other teenagers reportedly stole car and broke into two homes in 2015, which resulted in police fatally shooting A’Donte. Even though Smith did not shoot him, he was liable under Alabama’s accomplice law, WSFA explained, “Because Washington was killed during the commission of a felony, all suspects involved were charged with felony murder for his death.”
LaKeith Smith, 19, and the three others were charged with armed burglary, second-degree theft, and third-degree theft. However, he declined the plea deal of 25 years (the other three accepted the deal). He was sentenced to 65 years and at his sentencing said “I don’t have time for this.” Judge Sibley Reynolds responded with, “You got plenty of time for this. 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, saying he didn’t know the judge heard him.
See the video below:
Smith is now asking for a new trial. The New York Post reports, “Jennifer Holton, who represents the 19-year-old, said if a new trial isn’t granted, the judge should at least reconsider the hefty sentence, which was meted out in consecutive – not concurrent – terms” and “if a new trial isn’t granted, the judge should at least reconsider the hefty sentence, which was meted out in consecutive – not concurrent – terms.”
However, it is highly unlikely Smith will receive a new trial. Judge Sibley Reynolds is famous for being extremely strict with his sentencing. In June 2016, he sent a man to jail for saying he was a “corrupt judge” in a social media post. In August of 2017, he sent a lawyer to jail for contempt of court. He also gave the maximum sentence for a white woman who killed her child’s father. Unfortunately, this judge will more than likely not give the 19-year-old another chance. However, the accomplice law should be revisited, the idea that someone is blamed for a murder — especially when the cop pulled the trigger — is deeply problematic.