Hagerstown man pleads Alford in case of murder of man in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

Another co-defendant in the October 2020 shooting death of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, man Daynard Devere Johnson has reached a plea deal, court records show.

Brock Jerome Smith, 34, of Hagerstown, pleaded Alford to first-degree assault on Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court, court records show.

An Alford plea does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Smith was being held without bond Monday at the Washington County Detention Center. He was due to have a jury trial starting Monday.

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“Brock Smith was not the alleged shooter,” defense attorney Andrew Alperstein said in a phone interview Monday.

Alperstein said Smith’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for late August.

The maximum sentence for first-degree assault is 25 years in state prison.

As part of the plea deal, the state dismissed several other charges, including first- and second-degree murder. First degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison.

Washington County State’s Attorney Gina Cirincion, on behalf of her office, said Friday she had no comment on Smith’s plea deal. She noted that there was still one accused to be tried in this case.

The only current defendant whose case has yet to go to trial is Raymond Garfield Campbell III (aka “Uno”), for whom there remains an active warrant for his arrest in that case. Campbell faces charges of first and second degree murder.

The Hagerstown Police Department offered a reward for information leading to Campbell’s arrest. The amount of the reward depends on the quality of the information, police said. Tips can be emailed to Detective S. Weaver at sweaver@hagerstownpd.org.

Alexander Daniel Brooks, 28, of Hagerstown, pleaded to Alford in January for first-degree murder. In May, Judge Brett R. Wilson sentenced Brooks to life in prison, with all but 30 years suspended.

After Brooks’ sentencing, his attorney, David Harbin, said via email that Brooks “definitely did not pull the trigger and take the young man’s life.”

Charges against two other men in the case had previously been dismissed.

What happened to Daynard Johnson?

When Hagerstown Police arrived in the 300 block of Henry Avenue in Hagerstown at approximately 10:25 p.m. on October 14, 2020, they found Johnson, 40, face down on the sidewalk with gunshot wounds to the head, in the chest, abdomen and hand, according to court documents. He was pronounced dead 11 minutes later.

Various suspects allegedly tracked Johnson’s movements and communicated via cellphones shortly before he was shot, according to charging documents.

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Smith got into a Dodge Charger, Brooks and the alleged shooter got into a Dodge Ram and another man got into a Cadillac SUV, all three leaving quickly and driving to a convenience store from which one of the previous defendants allegedly texted after talking to Johnson in the store, according to court records.

Police examined city surveillance cameras to track the vehicles, according to court records.

The three vehicles flashed two red lights as they drove towards the Audi containing Johnson.

The Ram caught up with the Audi near Henry and Murph avenues and followed it closely until it returned to that area, court records show. The Audi came to a stop in the middle of Henry Avenue when a man approached and spoke to the occupants of the Audi.

The Ram and Charger were nearby and were later driving through this area. The ram was east on Bethune Avenue, turning north toward North Avenue when Brooks allegedly dropped off the shooter and the homicide took place, according to court records.

During the shootout, the Ram and the Charger pulled up next to each other on North Avenue and Smith was observed giving the Ram driver a “thumbs up” as he drove away. walked away, according to court records. The gesture occurred about 20 to 25 seconds after Johnson was shot inside the Audi.

Johnson’s murder allegedly linked to West Virginia homicide

Johnson’s family and friends have told police his killing was in retaliation for the September 2020 killing of 26-year-old Vance Anthony Trotman Jr. of Hagerstown. Smith, Brooks and others were family or close friends of Trotman, according to court documents.

Trotman and Devon Gordon Jr., of Martinsburg, were shot shortly after 2 a.m. on September 6, 2020, in the parking lot of the Mountaineer Pub at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway north of Martinsburg. Gordon was injured. Trotman was pronounced dead in a hospital.

Video footage showed Trotman leaving the club after a fight broke out and he was given the opportunity to leave the cape. RL Steerman Jr. of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department said. Instead, the footage appears to show Trotman walking towards where Gordon was in the parking lot when the shooting happened, Steerman said.

The Berkeley County prosecutor previously said Johnson was a person of interest in the Trotman case, which may mean investigators wanted to speak to him.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Brock Smith pleads Alford for lesser offense in fatal shooting

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