Judge Revokes Phone Access for Accused Hwy. 169 Shooter
The suspect accused of shooting and killing a youth baseball coach on Highway 169 in Plymouth will no longer be able to call people from jail except to contact his attorney.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Nicole Engisch revoked phone privileges this week for Jamal Smith. The judge cited repeated efforts by Smith to manipulate witnesses. Smith, 33, of Chicago, is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old Jay Boughton of Crystal.
The judge’s court order noted that Smith tried contacting one witness 87 times, with 10 of those calls answered. The two spoke for a total of 144 minutes.
In one of the calls to a witness, prosecutors say Smith told that person to “plead the Fifth, not testify and stop cooperating [with police].”
Prosecutors: Suspect Urged Others to Delete Facebook Evidence
At a bail review hearing last month, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Erin Lutz said that Smith talked to people while in the Macon County, Ill., jail in an attempt to delete his Facebook page. The prosecution considers the suspect’s Facebook page a critical piece of evidence. The initial criminal complaint against Smith said police used Facebook video to link him to the case. Police arrested Smith on Aug. 24 in Decatur, Ill.
Lutz also said Smith instructed one witness to recant what she told law enforcement while in Hennepin County Jail. Additionally, Lutz said Smith made phone calls to an individual about “ending the life” of someone bothering his girlfriend in Illinois while in the Macon County jail.
According to police, Boughton was driving on southbound Highway 169 near Rockford Road when he was shot and killed. Boughton’s teenage son sat in the passenger seat. The son said his father “gestured” at the SUV driver. Seconds later a bullet shattered the driver’s side window, killing Boughton.
Police initially described the incident as “some sort of traffic altercation” that lasted only seconds. Prosecutors say Smith previously pointed a gun at other drivers, citing witness accounts.
Smith is scheduled to have his next court appearance on Dec. 1.