Man gets 40 years for murder; others sentenced in Oct. 2017 shooting

Published 11:17 pm Monday, November 19, 2018


NATCHEZ — A Natchez man was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison for the murder of a Natchez man that occurred during an Oct. 1, 2017, shooting spree across several Natchez neighborhoods.

Harry Kenyon Smith Jr., 20, was among a group of individuals who reportedly fired more than 130 random shots from a high-powered assault rifle while riding through the city in the back of a pickup truck.

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The shooting spree resulted in the death of Richard Frazier, 34, as he sat in his vehicle on West Stiers Lane.

Two weeks ago, Smith was scheduled to stand trial for attempted murder in another shooting incident that occurred Nov. 5, 2016, in the area of Edgin Street.

During that incident, a teenage victim was reportedly shot at least twice and drove his truck to Zipy Gas Station on Old Washington Road, where his vehicle struck a gas pump.

The case, however, was retired when Smith instead pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Frazier in 2017 just before the trial for the 2016 incident was set to begin with Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson presiding.

Johnson said the murder charge is punishable by a sentence of between 20 to 40 years and Smith was the only one of multiple suspects in the Oct. 1, 2017, incident to plead guilty to the charge and received the maximum sentence of 40 years in court Monday.

Others involved in the Oct. 1 incident who were sentenced Monday include Cleophus Robinson Jr., sentenced to 20 years with credit for time served; Datarrius Matthews, sentenced to 20 years; Stacy Woods, sentenced to 20 years; Kiandas Washington, sentenced to 20 years with credit for time served; and Jermetrice Thomas, sentenced to 15 years in prison with an additional five years under post-release supervision.

Charges were abandoned in court Monday for the following suspects in the Oct. 1, 2017, incident: JaDarrius McKnight, Garrick Johnson, Kendrick Lee Thomas and Terrance Edward Brown.

“We are satisfied that the defendants sentenced today were the ones responsible for the offense,” said Tim Cotton, assistant district attorney. “The ones whose charges are not being pursued are individuals we do not believe actively participated in the offense based on recent witness statements and courtroom testimony of others when giving their pleas.”

Cotton said he hopes the sentences handed down Monday will send a message.

“I hope the 180 years of sentences the court handed down today will get these kids to think of alternative ways to deal with their anger,” Cotton said. “I want to thank everyone involved, The Natchez Democrat for reporting on this case and police working so hard to investigate the incident.”