Dayton man sent to prison for role in child’s gun death

Prosecutors said maximum 64 years to life ‘wholly warranted’ for Shawn Smith Jr.

UPDATE @ 2:53 p.m. (July 31):

Isaiah T. Smith was sent to prison for 17 years today for his role in the shooting death of 13-month-old Elijah Johnson.

UPDATE @ 3:36 p.m. (July 3):

Isaiah T. Smith, 27, of Dayton was found guilty Monday in connection to the shooting death of 13-month-old Elijah Johnson.

Isaiah Smith was found guilty on charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery, weapons under disability, and discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, according to the prosecutor’s office.

On Jan. 14, 2016, there were gunshots fired by co‐defendants Isaiah Smith and Shawn D. Smith, Jr.

Elijah Jaden Johnson was struck and killed, and a woman was also struck by gunfire but survived.

Isaiah Smith will be sentenced later this month.


A Dayton man was sentenced Monday to 37 years to life for his role in a shootout that ended with the death of a 13-month-old child.

Jurors in March convicted Shawn D. Smith, 26, of murder, felonious assault, and having weapons while under disability (parole for a prior drug conviction).

He was one of three people charged in connection with the death of Elijah Johnson on Jan. 14, 2016, who was struck and killed when Shawn Smith and Isaiah Smith traded gunfire, investigators said. In addition, Isaiah Smith, one of the co-defendants, and a woman were also struck.

RELATED: Mom tells baby hurt in shootout she loves him as he dies

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors wrote that Shawn Smith and a friend were hunting Isaiah Smith when “a helpless and wholly innocent baby was gunned down.”

Before sentencing, prosecutors said Shawn Smith’s minimum sentence would be 26 years to life and that they hoped for the maximum sentence of 64 years to life.

“This sentence is wholly warranted by defendant’s conduct, history, and lack of remorse, and is necessary to punish defendant and protect society,” prosecutors wrote to the judge.

RELATED: Guilty verdict for man charged in death of 1-year-old

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion wrote that the incident was a tragedy. He also wrote that the government’s theory of the case was one of transferred intent and, “thereby a tacit acknowledgment that Mr. Smith was not intending to injure anyone except the person who had committed the robbery shortly before the shooting in this matter.”

Isaiah Smith was indicted on counts including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery, child endangering, discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, and having weapons while under disability. His trial now is scheduled for July 11.

A third defendant, Dontay King, pleaded guilty by bill of information on April 21, 2016, to a single count of involuntary manslaughter, with a mandatory 3-year firearm specification. He will be sentenced at a later date.

In his trial, Shawn Smith said he “cried a million nights” when he learned a child died from a bullet he fired.

Prosecutors said Isaiah Smith robbed King and Shawn Smith, and those two sought revenge.

Shawn Smith said Isaiah Smith fired first at the car Shawn Smith and King were driving north on Arlene Avenue and that he fired back to protect himself.

Shawn Smith said he didn’t know Isaiah Smith was holding a child.

Shots continued between Shawn Smith and Isaiah Smith when both were in cars after the shooting at Arlene Avenue. That’s when Diana Hicks was hit and possibly when Elijah was struck.

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Rion had argued a self-defense claim, asking jurors to sit in the shoes of Shawn Smith for the 15-20 minutes from the robbery of guns, money and marijuana to shooting up Isaiah Smith’s grandmother’s house to the shootout.

Rion said, “Isaiah Smith was the match that lit this forest fire.”

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