An Alabama teenager, who was tried as an adult, just got a sentence of 65 years in prison for crimes including murder — despite the fact the murder was committed by a police officer.
In 2015, when Lakeith Smith was 15, his 16-year-old accomplice A’Donte Washington was killed. Both teenagers were involved in burglaries. On the night of the Washington's death, the two were part of a group of five that broke into two houses in Millbrook, Alabama.
When police arrived on the scene, the two sides exchanged fire. From the footage of the video, Washington can be seen firing at a police officer and running toward him. Washington was then shot and killed by the officer.
Smith, who never once was seen attacking Washington, was nevertheless found guilty of the crime under Alabama’s accomplice liability law. This allows a person to be convicted of murder if they were involved in a crime with the deceased person that led to the person’s death.
However, the application of this law in Smith’s case seems exaggerated. As Smith’s attorney Jennifer Holton pointed out, the teen was a “scared 15-year-old” at the time of the murder.
It is also unclear whether he urged Washington to commit the crime during which he was killed. More importantly, Washington was deliberately shot at and killed by a police officer.
Smith, now 18, was convicted on Thursday. He was given a sentence of 30 years for a felony murder, 15 for burglary and two 10-year sentences for theft.
Earlier this year in March, Smith declined a plea deal that would have given him a sentence of 25 years.
The other three defendants entered plea deals. One was sentenced to 28 years, while the others haven't been sentenced yet.
Meanwhile, the officer who killed Washington was cleared of any wrongdoing in 2016.
It is pertinent to note Smith was tried as an adult despite the fact he was a minor at the time of the incident.
Police brutality and racial profiling are claiming lives across the country and officers can apparently shoot anyone on the basis of assumptions and yet walk away freely.
Less than a month before that, officers in Sacramento, California, killed a 22-year-old African-American father of two who was holding a cell phone in his own backyard.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters/Mike Stone, Elmore County Jail