Man convicted of attempted murder

Published 10:50 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A man charged in 2014 with shooting into an occupied vehicle and attempted murder was convicted Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Lex Short heard the case against Denarieya Letrex Smith, 24.

The evidence at trial showed that, days before the shooting, Smith had an altercation with one of the victims and her brother, prosecutors said. On the day of the shooting, he followed her as she was driving a 4-year-old relative home from preschool, while Eddie Parker fired shots at her vehicle. Parker, who was 16 years old at the time of the crimes, had pleaded guilty to attempted murder last week and received a 20-year sentence.

He testified that Smith told him to shoot at the victim’s car, adding that he knew Smith’s reputation and thought Smith might retaliate against him if he refused. The victim drove into oncoming traffic on South Cotton Street to escape the shooting, and Smith followed her as Parker continued shooting. The victim drove immediately to Andalusia Police Department, where two bullets were recovered from her vehicle.

Andalusia Investigator Barney Tyree testified that one of the bullets went through the back seat before lodging in the driver’s seat. The victim identified both Smith and Parker. Investigator Tyree interviewed Smith, who denied any involvement and stated that the shooting “didn’t bother him.”

“He showed no remorse and no concern. When I asked him what if that four-year-old child had been killed, his answer was chilling: ‘It’d just been dead,’” Tyree testified.

Smith testified in his own behalf, claiming that he was “as surprised as anybody” when Parker began shooting and that he tried to stop the shooting by taking a different route from the victim. Eyewitness testimony showed otherwise – that Smith followed her vehicle as the shooting continued.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Grace Jeter represented the state at trial.

Court records revealed that Smith has three prior felony convictions and had been released from prison two months prior to committing these offenses.

After the verdicts, Jeter remarked, “Smith and Parker fired shots at a car carrying a woman and a small child. The phone call from an eyewitness to the shooting came in to Andalusia Police at 2:37 p.m. In the middle of the afternoon, at a busy intersection, Smith told Parker to shoot.

“Smith showed a complete disregard for the lives of his victims and for the lives of anyone else who may have been in his way that day. People on their way to pick children up from school, people running errands, people going to and from work – it didn’t matter to him if any of them had been killed.”

Judge Short has set a sentencing hearing in October. Because Smith has three prior felony convictions, he faces mandatory sentences of life imprisonment for each of the attempted murder convictions and a sentence of up to life imprisonment for shooting into an occupied vehicle.

David Baker represents Smith.