Man accused in shooting death of toddler claims self-defense

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Attorneys completed closing arguments in the murder trial of Shawn Smith, 26, on Tuesday.  Smith is one of three men accused in the shooting death of a 13-month-old Elijah Johnson back in January 2016.

Smith took the stand in his own defense Tuesday.  He testified that he was in fear for his life in what police describe as a drive-by style shooting.

According to police reports, the shooting was sparked after Isaiah Smith robbed the defendant and Dontay King earlier that day.  The prosecution argued that S. Smith and King were enraged over the robbery and went on a manhunt for Isaiah that night and opened fire while he [Isaiah] was holding the toddler.

Investigators said baby Elijah was caught in the crossfire.  Montgomery County deputy coroner testified the child was struck twice, once in the chest and in the foot.  Isaiah Smith, the other shooter, and his grandmother were also struck during the gunfight.

Shawn Smith is facing two counts of murder, six counts of felonious assault and a weapons charge. The other two suspects; Isaiah Smith plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and King is still awaiting trial..

During closing arguments the defense told jurors it was self-defense, because the defendant was shot at first.

“I was actually thinking he would’ve killed me because while we were in the car he try to shoot the gun and I guess it didn’t go off, I flinched and we kind of ducked and so then he started firing the shots.  We were kind of like scared,” Shawn Smith testified.

After five days of testimony and receiving instructions from the judge on all counts, the jury of nine women and three men opted to wait until 9:00 AM Wednesday to begin deliberations.

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