Man guilty in shooting death of 1-year-old

Shawn Smith in court Thursday. (WDTN Photo/Chris Smith)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After 18-hours of deliberations, over the course of two days, a jury has found a Dayton man guilty of killing a 1-year-old boy.

Shawn Smith was convicted of murder for his role in a triple shooting that left 13-month-old Elijah Johnson dead. Investigators said the child was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle on Queens Avenue on January 14, 2016.

During the five day trial, Prosecutors argued Smith went on a manhunt after he was robbed earlier that day by Isaiah Smith.  Telling jurors the defendant opened fire from his car in broad daylight, while I. Smith was holding the toddler.

“This was a shootout through the city of Dayton, through a neighborhood, in the middle of the afternoon in broad daylight. It was senseless, it was tragic and it didn’t have to happen. And it was a very good verdict and we’re confident justice was served here,” Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor Lynda Dodd said.

Smith’s attorney claimed the shooting was self defense, because his client returned fire only after being shot at by I. Smith first.  After the verdict, defense attorney Jon Paul Rion told 2 NEWS they plan to file an appeal, because their request to have lesser included offenses like reckless homicide and manslaughter considered was rejected by the court.

“So I think it’s a good issue for appeal and hopefully it will come back, because It’s our belief that Shawn clearly didn’t start this and didn’t intend on any innocent people to be wounded or lose their life,” Rion said.

2 NEWS was in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Smith was found guilty on all counts including two counts of murder, six counts of felonious assault and a weapons charge. He faces a minimum of 26 years to life in prison.

Another man accused in the case, Isaiah Smith is scheduled for trial in July.  A third man involved, Dontay King, plead guilty in April 2016 to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of having weapons under disability. He has not yet been sentenced.

Shawn Smith will be sentenced on April 21.

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