DeAnthony K. Smith has been sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after serving 21 years for the April murder of an Iraqi refugee who was selling shoes from his van to support his family.
Smith, 21, of Akron, was sentenced Monday morning in Summit County Common Pleas Court.
Retired Judge Ted Schneiderman, who was appointed to handle the case, gave Smith the mandatory minimum of 15 years to life for the murder conviction, three years for a gun specification and an additional three years for tampering with evidence.
All of those sentences were ordered to run consecutively for a total prison term of 21 years before Smith becomes eligible to make his first appearance before the Ohio Parole Board.
After a weeklong trial, Smith was convicted of one count of murder with a gun specification, aggravated robbery with a gun specification, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice for lying to Akron police investigators.
Prosecutors conceded in closing arguments that Smith was not the trigger man in the April 22 shooting of Abdulmahdi El-Garawi, 43.
However, after following Schneiderman's instructions on the law, the jury found Smith complicit in the crime specifically, that he aided and abetted the alleged shooter in carrying out the slaying from beginning to end.
The victim's wife, Huda Al-Garawi, 34, who appeared in court for the sentencing, gave a moving victim-impact statement.
Reading from a statement she had written, her hands trembling as she stood before the bench, Al-Garawi said her husband ''was here trying to live in the [land of dreams].''
She concluded by telling the court: ''When we are all gathered in this room, he is watching over us now.''
Al-Garawi, a native of Jordan, was left with three children: two girls, ages 6 and 9; and an 8-year-old boy.
Her husband of 10 years, who fled the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, was selling athletic shoes on the streets of Akron to support his family.
The alleged shooter, Xzaiver T. Penwell, is being held in the county jail in lieu of $1 million bond. He is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 29.
Smith's attorney, Adam Van Ho, filed a motion for a new trial before Monday morning's hearing, saying there was insufficient evidence to convict Smith of the murder charge.
Schneiderman, who had earlier dismissed a charge of aggravated murder on the grounds of insufficient evidence, denied the motion for a new trial.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or email@example.com.