ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole following his conviction in a murder case.
Davon Smith, 20, was convicted of first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of 20-year-old Rondy Samuel Shields III on June 25, 2017, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. The sentence, which was handed down on Thursday, means Smith will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Smith had just turned 16 when he committed the crime. According to North Carolina law, minors must have their cases moved to adult court following certain charges, including first-degree murder.
Smith filed a notice of appeal at the end of the trial.
Many of those testifying at the sentencing hearing pointed to “systematic failures” as the reason Smith was in court, referring to the violence and lack of resources in the community where he grew up. The family also pointed to the fact that there was only one Black person on the jury. Smith is Black.
In light of the testimony, along with other “mitigating factors,” including his age when the crime was committed, the judge determined Smith was not “incorrigible” and handed down the sentence.