Jury finds Port Angeles man guilty of second-degree murder
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Prosecutors had charged the 60-year-old with first-degree premeditated murder for the shooting death of Robert Fowler at Smith’s Port Angeles residence in June 2011.
The jury found Smith guilty of the lesser charge after a one-week trial in Clallam County Superior Court.
“We the jury, having found the defendant, Bobby Jerrel Smith, not guilty of the crime of first-degree murder as charged, or being unable to unanimously agree as to that charge, find the defendant guilty of a lesser and included crime of second-degree murder,” said Judge George L. Wood as he read the jury verdict aloud.
Wood scheduled a sentencing hearing for Dec. 3.
Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall said Smith faces a sentence between 123 months and 220 months,
or about 10 years to about 18 years.
Smith will get credit for the two years he already has spent in the Clallam County jail.
Second-degree murder occurs when someone intends “to cause the death of another person but without premeditation,” according to the Revised Code of Washington.
Smith said he shot Fowler, 63, in self-defense after Fowler demanded money and threatened to cut his throat with a hunting knife.
Port Angeles police said Smith shot Fowler several times with a .45-caliber pistol.
An autopsy showed that Fowler was incapacitated by gunshot wounds during an altercation in Smith’s living room before a fatal shot to the brain stem.
The jury began deliberations Monday afternoon and reached a verdict at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Lundwall, who spoke briefly with a couple of jurors after the hearing, said the panel appeared to have spent a good deal of time weighing the arguments and gave careful consideration to make its decision.
She said the case came down to “pure forensics” and credited law enforcement investigators and crime lab scientists for doing an “outstanding job.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsula
Last modified: October 15. 2013 7:23PM