Port Angeles man sentenced to nearly 11 years for second-degree murder
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Bobby J. Smith, left, sits with attorney Karen Unger during Smith’s sentencing for second-degree murder on Tuesday in Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles.

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Bobby “B.J.” Smith was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years, 10 months in prison for murdering his neighbor.

A Clallam County Superior Court jury had found Smith, 60, guilty Oct. 15 of second-degree murder in the multiple-shooting death of Robert Fowler, 63, in the living room of Smith’s Port Angeles residence June 20, 2011.

Second-degree murder is without premeditation.

Smith will get credit for about 27 months served in the Clallam County jail and must serve 36 months of community service upon his release.

Smith had said he acted in self-defense when he fired his nine-round, .45-caliber pistol at Fowler, whom he said had threatened him with a knife and was on the verge of hurting Smith’s daughter.

“I was trained to fire until the threat was stopped,” the former Marine told Judge George L. Wood, choking back his emotions.

In sentencing Smith on Tuesday, Wood said the jury had rejected his self-defense argument.

Smith had testified that he “methodically” fired two bullets into Fowler’s head as Fowler lay on Smith’s living room floor, Wood recalled.

Smith’s daughter also had testified that she heard Fowler say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please don’t” before Smith
fired the final shots, making the crime “even more egregious,” Wood said.

“There was no need for Mr. Smith to shoot Mr. Fowler in the head at that particular point, and he was shot,” Wood said, echoing county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Troberg’s assertion earlier Tuesday that Smith carried out the killing “almost like an execution.”

A restitution hearing is set for 9 a.m. March 7.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 14. 2014 5:36PM
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