No death penalty for those charged in teen's death

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 27, 2012

Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for three suspects charged in the May 21 murder of Daniel Cooper.
The decision was made in a Rule-24 hearing today in Rowan County court to determine whether the district attorney’s office would seek the death penalty.
Darius Jamal Smotherson, Damarick Lamar Harper and Reginald Javae Clark have all been charged with first-degree murder.
Cooper was apparently shot in a robbery attempt in Kannapolis. He was sitting in the passenger seat of a Honda when he was shot in the neck.
Smotherson, 19, was the first suspect authorities identified in the shooting and last to be taken into custody. He was arrested getting off a bus in Maryland.
Superior Court Judge W. David Lee said because Harper is 17 years old, he is ineligible for the death penalty.
Clark, 35, was picked up and charged nearly a month after the shooting.
Clark, Harper and Smotherson are also charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Cooper was a senior at A.L. Brown High School. The shooting occurred just days before his 18th birthday and weeks before he was to graduate.
See Tuesday’s Post for more details.