Bond for accused murderer set at $2 million
SALISBURY — Citing an accused gunman’s flight in the days after a homicide in May, a superior court judge set Darius Jamal Smotherson’s bond at $2 million Friday.
The 20-year-old had been held without bond since Kannapolis Police charged him with robbing Daniel Cooper during an apparent marijuana deal and shooting him in the neck.
Cooper, 17, died from his injuries. His relatives were in court Friday.
The bond set by the judge was a prosecutor’s counter proposal to the $200,000 requested by defense attorney James Davis.
Davis cited family connections and limited financial means as a reason to lower it, possibly giving his client hope of getting out.
But Special Superior Court Judge Craig Croom said Smotherson’s criminal record — which includes violating a domestic violence order and failing to appear in court — shows he has broken the court’s rules before.
Croom also said Smotherson’s disappearance after the shooting and his later bus trip to Maryland, where he was arrested June 26, gave him pause.
“You weren’t found in Charlotte. You weren’t found in Raleigh. You were found in Maryland,” Croom told Smotherson. “That concerns me.”
Nearly two rows on the left side of the courtroom were filled with Cooper’s relatives. Many of them cried throughout the hearing.
Smotherson seemed unaffected at the judge’s decision, turning and shaking Davis’ hand at the conclusion. Smotherson’s mother appeared to attend the hearing alone.
Cooper, killed two days before his 18th birthday, was a senior at A.L. Brown High School.
Warrants were issued for Smotherson, but two others implicated in the case were caught first. Damarick Lamar Harper, 18, of Kirk Street in China Grove, was arrested a week later. Reginald Javae Clark of Glendale Avenue was arrested June 14. All three were charged with murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Clark is in the Rowan County jail without bond. Harper remains in jail under a $750,000 bond.