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Suspect in death of Kannapolis teen arrives in Salisbury

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — The third suspect charged in the murder of 17-year-old Daniel Cooper arrived at the Rowan County Detention Center this morning.
Darius Jamal Smotherson was checked into jail about 1 a.m. after being extradited from Maryland.
Authorities took 19-year-old Smotherson into custody Tuesday as he stepped off a bus from Georgia headed toward the Baltimore area.
Police say Smotherson may have pulled the trigger in Cooper’s May 21 killing.
Cooper was shot in the neck as he sat in the passenger seat of a Honda on Snow Street, which runs off Glendale Avenue in north Kannapolis.
He later died of his injuries at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast.
Cooper’s death came just days before his 18th birthday. He was a senior at A.L. Brown High School and was set to graduate this month.
Police said they believed the shooting happened during a robbery attempt.
A murder warrant was quickly issued for Smotherson, who lives off of Glendale Avenue.
On May 28, police arrested Damarick Lamar Harper, 17, of Kirk Street in China Grove.
He was initially charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony conspiracy to commit robbery.
Harper was charged with murder the following day.
On June 14, police arrested 35-year-old Reginald Javae Clark, also of Glendale Avenue.
He was charged with murder, felony armed robbery and felony conspiracy.
A Crime Stoppers tip helped the investigators tracking Smotherson locate his Maryland-bound bus.
In a press release, Kannapolis Police said several other agencies also assisted in the investigation, including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the U.S. Marshal’s Service, along with others.
Smotherson was being held without bond and had a first appearance in court scheduled for 9 a.m. today.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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