police killed a black teen, but his friend was found guilty of the murder instead

April 13, 2018
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Lakeith Smith, 17, was convicted of felony murder, burglary and theft for his participation in 2015 break-ins of two homes in Millbrook, Al. with a group of four other, a crime that ended in the death of A’Donte Washington, 16. While responding to a burglary in progress call, according to Millbrook police officers’ body camera footage, an officer shot at Washington four times, killing him. Also according to the police, Washington had charged at them while pointing a gun, causing them to shoot at him.
Smith, one of the participants in the break-in is now facing 65 years in prison after police shot and killed his friend. After rejecting the recommended 25-year plea deal he was offered for the crime he committed at age 15, he received 30 years for felony murder, 15 years for burglary, and 10 years for theft, totaling 65 years. Despite the fact that Smith was eligible to be tried in juvenile court, prosecutors decided to try him as an adult. In doing so, the adult system foreclosed on his eligibility for diversionary programs, too. Stealing any opportunity the teenager might have had for a normal life, for a very long time.
While facing the judge, Smith was described as being unapologetic, irritated with the time spent on the case, and even laughing at the judge during sentencing. But, frankly, being forced to spend what feels like the rest of your life in PRISON for breaking into a house and a murder committed by the government probably makes a little bit, I don’t know, insane.
But because Washington was killed during the commission of a felony, all suspects involved were charged with felony murder for his death.
“I don’t think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison,” chief assistant district attorney C.J. Robinson said. “We are very pleased with this sentence. Because the sentences are consecutive, it will be a long time before he comes up for even the possibility of parole, at least 20 to 25 years.”