WESTERN CHESTER – A man from Coatesville, who authorities say was an accomplice in a shooting in retaliation for police co-operation, has been acquitted of charges brought against him in a general trial last week.
A jury of 11 men and one woman pondered for about 2 and a half hours on Thursday before returning the verdict that acquitted defendant Armon Jones on charges of attempted murder as a result of a shooting in an alley in the city in 2020 that was filmed on video.
The panel accepted the argument of Jones’ attorney Shaki Johnson of Philadelphia that, although the video showed Jones present in the alley when Dial Smith’s victim was shot, his “mere presence” could not be used to convict him further. reasonable doubt.
In addition to charges of attempted murder, Jones was also charged with conspiracy to comment on aggravated assault and revenge against witnesses, in addition to other charges.
A gunman in the shooting, in which Smith was badly wounded but survived, pleaded guilty Monday, just as trial for Judge Patrick Carmody was due to begin, while Jones decided to go ahead and challenge the charges against him.
Ahmad Jamal Thomas has admitted to shooting Smith, who collaborated with city police many years ago in the investigation of Jones, Thomas ’cousin.
According to Thomas, as outlined by First District Attorney Michael Barry in the plea agreement he entered into, he fired several shots at Smith in broad daylight on Diamond Street in northern Coatesville, leaving the elderly man bleeding in the street. from wounds on the chest, abdomen and leg.
Smith, who was 41 at the time, was hospitalized a few weeks after the September 10, 2020 shooting and continues to suffer the effects of the injuries. However, outlining the case against Thomas, the prosecutor told Carmodi that the victim did not help the authorities in the case.
“It was Dial Smith’s revenge for being a previous witness,” Barry told the judge. “He is still suffering from injuries but is not interested in prosecuting the case. He told me he didn’t care what I did. “
24-year-old Thomas from West Goshen pleaded guilty to attempted murder, revenge against a witness and conspiracy. As part of a plea agreement between Barry and Thomas’ lawyer, Evan Kelly of West Chester’s Bellwoar & Kelly, he was sentenced to 18 to 40 years in prison.
According to Barry and Assistant District Attorney Bonnie Cox-Shaw, who are handling the case, 23-year-old Jones from Coatesville and Thomas targeted Smith after a senior man testified to city police about Jones’ involvement in the August 2016 case. the shooting of his son Sharik Chambers Smith.
Jones pleaded guilty to assault under aggravating circumstances and was sentenced to one to two years in Chester County Jail. After his release, Jones returned home to Coatesville, Cox-Shaw said in a speech to a jury of 11 men and one woman on Monday. “He came back with revenge, and he was helped by Armon Thomas.”
But the jury rejected the idea and acquitted Jones. The defendant is still in Chester County Jail on other charges.
To contact full-time writer Michael P. Relahan, call 610-696-1544.