Judge denies bond change for Dayton man accused of killing 2

Christopher Smith
Caption
Christopher Smith

The defense for Christopher Smith, a Dayton man accused of killing two people within hours and feet of each other, questioned whether there is enough evidence in the case and asked a judge to modify Smith’s bond.

“While defense counsel has not had the opportunity to review all of the discovery in the case at bar, he has reviewed the video recordings from the scene of the incidents and statements of alleged witnesses,” the motion for a bond change says. “He reviewed one video that was labeled as if it was Mr. Smith on it when the person thereon clearly was not Mr. Smith. Thus far, he has not seen or heard evidence indicating that Mr. Smith was involved in the crimes he is charged with. The fingerprint and DNA, that he has reviewed so far, does not show that either belong to Mr. Smith.”

The defense cited a 2004 criminal incident in the motion in which Dayton authorities misidentified and arrested two people for a bank robbery they didn’t commit. The defense said that even though a picture of the suspect looked nothing like his former client, she was still arrested and even confessed.

“At present, all counsel can say is that he has reviewed no evidence or discovery showing that Mr. Smith was involved in the offenses he is charged with,” attorney Derek Farmer said in the bond-related motion.

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But prosecutors responded by saying there’s plenty of evidence, and Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Gregory Singer denied the request for the modification of the bond.

“The weight of the evidence against defendant is very strong, this defendant has been ID’d at the first scene and is on video committing the offenses,” the response from prosecutors says. “The casings from both shootings have been determined to have been fired from the same weapon. Additionally, the defendant is seen on video at the time of the second murder wearing the same clothing.”

Smith, 30, is charged with murder, felonious assault and having weapons under disability and is now due back in court in August for a jury trial. He is being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Prosecutors said Smith fired rounds from a handgun at two men around 3 a.m. Dec. 5, 2019, outside Rick’s Jazz Lab on Lakeview Avenue in Dayton. He fatally shot 34-year-old Brandon Harris and injured the other man during the incident, the prosecutor’s office said.

“Then, at approximately 10:10 a.m., 34-year-old Clarence Brown III was fatally shot outside the Save Food Super Market on Germantown Street,” prosecutors said in a previous release. “The second shooting occurred approximately 100 feet from the first shooting, as the properties are adjacent to each other.”

The prosecutor’s office said that multiple witnesses were interviewed, surveillance video was obtained and ballistic information was compared to identify Smith as the shooter.

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Smith had previously asked the judge to suppress evidence in the case including whether witnesses were able to identify him. That request was denied.

Prosecutors also said in their response that Smith has a number of prior felony convictions including drug crimes and assault on a police officer. They said community control sanctions had been terminated for Smith five months before the 2019 shooting.