Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018


NATCHEZ — A Natchez man was scheduled to stand trial for attempted murder Tuesday but instead pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in another case in which he faced charges.

Harry Smith Jr., 20, entered a guilty plea to the charge of second-degree murder shortly after a jury had been chosen for his attempted murder trial for Clifford Payne III, who had been injured in a shooting in January 2017.

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The second-degree murder plea was for Smith’s part in an Oct. 1, 2017, incident in which a group of individuals reportedly fired random shots through the city from the back of a white truck in the early morning hours, killing Richard Frazier, 34, as he sat in his vehicle on West Stiers Lane.

Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson said the second-degree murder charge is punishable with a sentence between 20 and 40 years.

Sentencing for Smith is set for Monday, Nov. 19, Johnson said.