Monday, Dec 18, 2017
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City man gets 13 years in shooting death of ‘brother’

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Jermaine Smith, with attorney Jane Roman, is sentenced Friday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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Though he offered no admission of his crime or explanation for it, Jermaine Smith said in court Friday that Mario Smith, the man he was convicted of shooting to death, was a friend, a “big brother” to him.

Smith, 25, of 1113 Palmwood Ave., on May 15 entered an Alford plea, not admitting guilt, to involuntary manslaughter and a firearm specification in the Dec. 9 death of Mario Smith, 34. Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook sentenced him to 13 years in prison, one year less than the maximum.

“I am surely sorrowful for all of you, Mario’s family and friends,” Smith said before the sentence was imposed. “Mario was more than a friend to me and my family. I spent a lot of time with him. I looked up to him as another brother.

“I never would have thought that anything as devastating as this would happen to him,” Smith said. “I lost a brother that day. I will miss him always.”

Smith had been charged with murder but entered the Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter to avoid the possibility of being convicted on the more serious charge and a possible life sentence.

Prosecutors said Jermaine Smith went to Mario Smith’s Third Street apartment to rob him, then shot him twice in the face before fleeing.

Judge Cook said the facts of the case were egregious, though she understood that evidentiary concerns led prosecutors to offer Smith the plea agreement.

“Mr. Smith, it is sad and sickening to me to have a young man lose his life, to have a young man before the court for sentencing with a nonviolent record,” the judge said. “It is sad to me how many lives are affected in this community [by] young people with guns.”

Mario Smith’s younger sister, LaKendra Woods, told the court her family was grateful for justice in the case, although they did not think the maximum possible sentence of 14 years was enough for her brother’s life.

“Do I think the offender should get a second chance at life, to serve 14 years and get out with half his life left to live freely?” Miss Woods said. “With all the respect, your honor, no, I do not think 14 years is punishment enough for the crime committed.”

Defense attorney Jane Roman asked the court to appoint an attorney to file an appeal on Smith’s behalf.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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