Stephen T. Smith entered a guilty plea Thursday to a charge of first-degree murder, and received a 30-year prison term.
Smith, 24, was charged with the Monday, November 19, 2018 shooting of Jarious Shaw, 22.
Circuit Court Judge David Talley approved the plea. Smith could have received a maximum sentence of 40 years or life in prison.
Smith, who was staying at a residence on Norma Street, had been out of prison about a week before the Shaw homicide. He had served six years in an aggravated robbery case.
According to an affidavit prepared by Magnolia Police Sgt. Dustin Cloud, Lt. Sam Kirby of the police department was stopped during a routine patrol and told about a shooting victim.
Kirby found Shaw in the rear yard at 214 Norma suffering from a gunshot wound to his right chest. He showed signs of life but was not conscious. He died a short time later at Magnolia Regional Medical Center.
According to Cloud’s affidavit, a man later identified as Smith walked into the 226 Norma residence and asked to speak with Shaw outside. They walked out the door and a gunshot was heard. Smith left the scene, walking westward from Norma Street. Shaw ran to the rear yard of the house and collapsed.
Police later that day interviewed Shamika Smith, one of the suspect’s sisters. She told police that Stephen Smith came to her residence and said “he had just shot him the boy was messing with him.”
“Shamika said Stephen also told her the boy came up to him and was messing with him and at one point pushed him. Shamika said Stephen told her, ‘it happened so fast I let it go on him.’ Shamika said she does not know where Stephen got the gun and that she does not believe Stephen would do anything unless someone was messing with him,” the affidavit said.
Sharon Smith, Stephen Smith’s mother, told detectives that she was getting out of a shower when her son ran into the house and said, “Momma, I done messed up,” and then ran out the back door.
Both Shamika and Sharon Smith told investigators that they never saw Stephen Smith with a gun.
Search warrants was executed at 203 Norma – Stephen Smith’s post-prison address – and at 226 Norma, which the shooting happened. A bag containing synthetic marijuana was found, as was an unloaded 9mm Browning pistol. However, the affidavit did not establish any direct connection of those items with the suspect.
The day after the shooting, Cloud and Magnolia Police Chief Todd Dew interviewed Derrick Ellis, who was at the 203 Norma address the previous day.
The affidavit said Ellis “heard a male voice who he knew to be Stephen Smith. Ellis said he heard Stephen say, ‘That n---- pushed me, and I had to bust him.’
Ellis also recounted for officers a phone conversation that he, Sharon Smith and Shamika Smith had with the suspect while he was on the run. They alternatively asked Smith to turn himself in, and asked why he shot Shaw.
“Ellis said he heard Stephen tell Sharon that ‘first he pushed me.’ Stephen told Sharon that he just reacted after being pushed and he just shot. Ellis also hear Stephen tell Sharon, ‘I can’t take it back.’”
Ellis said from his understanding, the shooting “happened over nothing.”
Smith was arrested at the Horseshoe Casino hotel in Bossier City, LA, on Saturday, November 24. The next day, Smith was interviewed in Bossier Parish by Dew and Capt. Michael Caldwell. The interview was recorded by audio and video means.
Smith said that he got into an argument with Shaw.
“Smith stated that Shaw blocked the door and went for a gun which was in his waist band. Smith stated that he then pulled out a revolver he was carrying and shot Shaw. Smith states that he wasn’t sure if he hit Shaw. Smith stated that Shaw ran around the house and that he ran down the street to his home. Smith stated that he told his mother and sister what had happened then ran out the back door,” the affidavit said.
Smith said he was picked up by a female known to him only as “K,’ who he claimed to have met on Facebook while he was in prison. K took Smith to Bossier City where he bought several items. K booked them into a room at the hotel.
“Smith stated that during the night K left him in the room. Smith stated that the room was paid for by K for three days,” the affidavit said.
Smith said he threw his gun out of the car while they were traveling to Bossier City, but he didn’t know where.
The sentence also includes a court cost of $150, attorney fees of $250 and a jail booking fee of $20. Smith will receive credit for seven days of pre-trial incarceration.
Smith was represented by public defender Daren Nelson of El Dorado.
Shaw was survived by his parents, one son, six sisters and 10 brothers.