Arraignment postponed in accidental Fresno shooting

The suspect who may have accidentally shot and killed a 65-year-old Fresno man made his first court appearance to answer those charges.
April 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The suspect who may have accidentally shot and killed a 65-year-old Fresno man made his first court appearance to answer those charges.

Murder suspect Lemont Smith, 30, made a brief appearance in Fresno County Superior Court. He was to be arraigned on murder charges for the death of 65-year-old Gerald Perry.

Perry was sitting on the couch in his daughters Northwest Fresno apartment last Friday night, when a bullet crashed through the sliding glass window and hit him in the head. He died the next day in the hospital. Police say Smith fired the gun that killed Perry, after handling the weapon in a reckless manner.

ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says murder charges may be appropriate, even if the shooting was accidental. He said, "But if someone is in their backyard with a loaded gun and not treating it carefully you can imply malice."

Capozzi notes the fact that Smith has a lengthy criminal record, and a convicted felon is not allowed to have a gun makes this much more serious than an accidental shooting.

Capozzi explained, "I can see where manslaughter might be the right conviction here but again, this is from what I understand is a person who has prior convictions, he has a prior strike, there's a gun enhancement, there's a 25 to life on top of any other sentence he's gonna get. He is going to be looking at substantial time no matter what he's convicted of."

The arraignment ended up being postponed until next week. He remains in the Fresno County jail.


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