KCMO man convicted in Lawrence Motel 6 murder case after plea to lesser crime

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Murder defendant Shawn K. Smith, 19, is cross-examined by prosecutor C.J. Rieg while testifying at his own trial on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Douglas County District Court. Smith is one of three co-defendants charged with murder and other crimes in connection with a multiple shooting on Sept. 2, 2017, at Motel 6 in North Lawrence.

Shawn K. Smith — charged with first-degree felony murder from a man’s death in a 2017 hotel room shootout — was going to get a second trial this fall.

Instead, Smith entered a plea and was convicted of a less severe crime Thursday in Douglas County District Court.

Smith, 20, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded no contest to robbery, with the judge finding the crime was committed with a deadly weapon, said Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the district attorney.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 14.

Under state sentencing guidelines he faces 31 to 136 months in prison for the conviction, depending on his criminal history, Wright Kunard said. Upon his release, he must register for 15 years as a violent offender, she said.

Also in his plea deal, Smith agreed to testify at any future court hearings or trials involving the Motel 6 case, Wright Kunard said, though she did not elaborate on what those could be.

The homicide happened Sept. 2, 2017, inside a third-floor room at the North Lawrence Motel 6, 1130 N. Third St.

Smith and three other men from the Kansas City area — one of whom was not charged with the others but was named by witnesses at trial — had met up with five other men to party in the room, with plans to go out later to a strip club and Massachusetts Street.

They were drinking, smoking marijuana, eating pizza and watching football when a barrage of more than two dozen bullets suddenly broke out, victims and defendants previously testified. Each friend group accused the other of trying to rob them first, sparking the shooting.

Cameron Hooks, 23, of Lenexa, was shot five times and died from his injuries. Two other men also were shot — one eight times and one four times — but survived.

Smith initially was charged with first-degree felony murder, for allegedly killing Hooks during the commission or attempted commission of an armed robbery; aggravated battery; aggravated assault; and attempted armed robbery.

When Smith first went on trial alongside two co-defendants in August 2018, the jury acquitted him on the robbery charge but couldn’t agree on a verdict for his other charges. Until he pleaded, he had a retrial set to begin in October.

Smith’s co-defendants, Tyrone J. Carvin and Ramone Singleton, both of Kansas City, Kan., were initially charged with the same things. The same jury convicted them of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and aggravated assault.

Carvin, who had multiple previous felony convictions, was later sentenced to more than 23 years in prison; Singleton, whose record was clean, was sentenced to just under 10 years.

Smith himself took the stand at the first trial, saying that he came to Lawrence with his friends that night but that he didn’t have or fire a gun. He was wearing “house shoes,” or slide-style sandals, that fell off as he ran from the room in fear, he said.

His trial attorney told jurors Smith was “just a guy in the back seat,” “a kid looking to meet girls on a Saturday night” and “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

photo by: Nick Krug

In this file photo from Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, Lawrence Motel 6 murder defendants, from left, Shawn Smith, Ramone Singleton and Tyrone Carvin are seated during their trial in Douglas County District Court as their attorneys speak with the judge.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd

More coverage: Motel 6 murder trial

Oct. 10Judge orders prison sentences of 23 years, 9 years for two KCK men convicted in Lawrence Motel 6 slaying

Aug. 272 convicted of manslaughter in Motel 6 trial; mistrial declared for third defendant

Aug. 24Jury deliberating Motel 6 murder case; state describes premeditated crime while defendants claim they were victims of robbery attempt

Aug. 23Motel 6 murder defendant takes stand, says he and co-defendants were victims of armed robbery attempt before shooting started

Aug. 22Jurors sent home early when behind-the-scenes legal issue stalls Motel 6 murder trial

Aug. 21Missing witness in Motel 6 murder case surfaces, describes fear about taking stand

Aug. 20Four guns fired 2 dozen rounds inside Lawrence hotel room, testing in Motel 6 murder case shows

Aug. 17Motel 6 homicide victim’s body riddled with bullet holes; Lawrence hotel room left a shambles, bloody

Aug. 16More witnesses drop out of state’s lineup in Motel 6 murder case; shooting victim takes Fifth at last moment

Aug. 16Traffic cameras capture suspects’ car coming, going from North Lawrence on night of Motel 6 homicide

Aug. 15Opening testimony in Motel 6 murder case describes blood, chaos, confusion surrounding triple shooting

Aug. 14Jury selected for 2-week Motel 6 murder trial; arguments set to begin Wednesday morning


Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.