One of the men charged with murder by mob following the death of a teenager at a Sweet 16 party in Caroline County pleaded guilty yesterday to a misdemeanor.
Dwight Leo Smith II, 20, pleaded guilty to assault by mob and was sentenced to 12 months in jail, with all of that time suspended.
Smith was part of a group of nine who rode together in a van to the parking lot of the Madison Ruritan Club in November 2007 as a Sweet 16 party was ending. Evidence showed the other eight men were looking for another group of teens to fight.
The fight eventually ended in the death of 16-year-old Raquel Hunter, who was shot as he left his classmate's party.
"Dwight Smith was the only one who was in the van that we couldn't prove went there to fight," said Commonwealth's Attorney Tony Spencer. "Most of what we can figure is that he went there to meet some girls."
Smith told The Free Lance-Star after his court appearance that he was not looking for trouble the night the fight occurred.
"I got in the van because I needed a ride home," he said. "And it just happened. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time."
All of the men were fighting outside the party shortly before the group's ringleader, Lashawn Monroe, now 24, pulled a gun and killed Hunter, Spencer said.
After the shooting, Spencer said the group went to a home in Lake Land'Or, where some of the men were dropped off. The rest went to a home in Spotsylvania County, where Spencer said Monroe shot himself in the arm to make it look like he shot Hunter in self-defense.
"Dwight Smith went with them to [Spotsylvania] and he didn't do that to meet girls," Spencer said, "so we didn't want to let him off completely. We wanted him to accept some responsibility for his conduct that night, but we didn't think we could prove the felony."
Under a plea agreement, Monroe will serve 50 years in prison for the shooting deaths of Hunter on Nov. 10, 2007, and another man, Miguel Dominguez Vasquez on May 7, 2007.
Jujuan Lewis, 18, who slashed Hunter's face with a box-cutter knife, was sentenced to 40 years in prison with 25 years suspended.
Deon Terrell, 21, a co-defendant in both the Hunter and Vasquez cases, accepted a plea agreement in which he is expected to serve a 10-year sentence.
Four other co-defendants--Shawn McQuill Terrell, 19; Devar Tawain Brown, 17; Antoine Johnson, 20; and Lorenza Foxx--each pleaded guilty to malicious wounding by mob and were sentenced to 20 years in prison with all time suspended.
Deon Jeter is still awaiting trial.
Click to view image: 'Smith'
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