Last defendant in Motel 6 murder case gets new attorney, new date for 2nd trial

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Shawn K. Smith of Kansas City, Mo., appears on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Douglas County District Court after jurors couldn't agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial in his case. Smith and two co-defendants originally were charged with murder stemming from a triple shooting that killed Cameron Hooks, 23, of Lenexa, on Sept. 2, 2017, at Motel 6 in North Lawrence. The co-defendants, including Ramone Singleton, of Kansas City, Kan., pictured in the background, were convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

A new attorney is on board for the man who will go on trial a second time in the Motel 6 murder case. Instead of January as initially planned, a new trial is now scheduled to begin April 22, 2019.

In July, a jury convicted two men of manslaughter in the case but couldn’t agree on a verdict for the third co-defendant, 19-year-old Shawn K. Smith, of Kansas City, Mo.

Because of the hung jury, Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny declared a mistrial and scheduled a new trial for Smith in January.

Smith had retained an attorney for the first trial, Gary Long. Long withdrew this month, and the judge appointed Smith a new attorney, Nicholas David.

On Wednesday David said that he needed more time to collect and review evidence in the case and also that he had a conflict with the January trial date. Pokorny approved moving Smith’s trial back.

Pokorny told Smith that speedy trial laws say he was to be brought to trial within 90 days of the jury’s first verdict, but Smith said he agreed to waive speedy trial to get the later date.

After a two-week trial, the jury announced its verdict Aug. 27. Co-defendants Tyrone J. Carvin, 20, and Ramone Singleton, 24, both of Kansas City, Kan., were sentenced to prison on Oct. 10.

According to testimony at the first trial, Carvin, Singleton, Smith and a fourth man from the Kansas City area met up with five other men on Sept. 2, 2017, to party in a room of the North Lawrence Motel 6, 1130 N. Third St., with plans to go out later. Victims and defendants accused one another of instigating a botched robbery attempt that sparked a barrage of more than two dozen bullets inside the small room.

Cameron Hooks, 23, of Lenexa, was shot five times and died from his injuries. Another man was shot eight times, and a third man was shot four times, but they survived.

Smith himself took the stand at the first trial, saying that he came to Lawrence with his co-defendants that night but that he didn’t have or fire a gun.

His attorney described him as “just a guy in the back seat” and “a kid looking to meet girls on a Saturday night.”

“He goes along, and he ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, presumably with the wrong people,” Long said in his closing arguments.

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Shawn K. Smith, of Kansas City, Mo., is handcuffed on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, after a trial in Douglas County District Court. Jurors convicted Smith’s two co-defendants of voluntary manslaughter but couldn’t agree on a verdict for Smith, causing the judge to declare a mistrial in his case. Smith and the others originally were charged with murder stemming from a triple shooting that killed Cameron Hooks, 23, of Lenexa, on Sept. 2, 2017, at Motel 6 in North Lawrence.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd

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