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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Smith to be charged as adult in murder

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Motion denied.

Stephen Smith, the 17-year-old Mammoth Spring teen-ager who has been charged with first degree murder in the May shooting death of 14-year-old Samuel Mullins of Mammoth Spring, will stand trial as an adult.

Fulton County Circuit Court Judge Tim Weaver said the case will not be moved into juvenile court as requested by Bradley Sipe, Smith's defense attorney.

"This was a violent and serious act," said Weaver at the Fulton County Courthouse Aug. 17. "Nothing is more serious or violent than a shotgun blast to the face."

Sipe said his client has a learning disability and was suffering from depression after the death of his father when the shooting occurred.

"I think it is in the best interest of society to put Mr. Smith in the juvenile system," Sipe said.

Fulton County Prosecuting Attorney Dwayne Plumlee did not agree with Sipe's analysis of the case.

"If he were four months older we wouldn't be arguing this motion in court," Plumlee said. "It is a serious charge and there is proof of a serious and violent offense which is sufficient for the court not to transfer the case to the juvenile courts."

According to investigators, Smith shot Mullins in the head at point blank range May 25 at Smith's Mammoth Spring home.

Smith admitted that he shot Mullins but said it was an accident. He said Mullins was his best friend.

Mullins' mother, Tywana Mullins, said Weaver made the right decision, but sitting in the courtroom was difficult.

"Twisted, upset, not wanting to be in there would be the best way to describe the hearing," Tywana Mullins said. "But I'm glad they're not putting him in juvenile court. I want him to pay for this the rest of his life."

During the hearing, Sipe called multiple witnesses to try to convince Weaver that Smith's case needed to moved to juvenile court.

Janet Smoot, a special education teacher at Mammoth Spring High School, testified that Smith has severe learning disabilities. She said he functioned at a third grade to fifth grade level in most school subjects.

Smoot said she was aware that Smith was living alone after his father, Joe Smith, died of cancer earlier this year.

She said she told school officials about Smith's situation but did not know if they had contacted authorities.

Tywana Mullins said she was upset that people, including Henry and Ruth Jewel, Smith's uncle and aunt, testified in his defense.

"Where were they when he was living out there all by himself?" Tywana Mullins said. "Why didn't they try to help him before he killed my son?"

Attempts to contact Henry and Ruth Jewel were unsuccessful.

"I've known that boy since he was 11 years old," she said. "I just can't believe he did it."

Smith's trial is slated to begin Dec. 13.

Tywana Mullins said she doesn't expect Smith to go to trial.

"I'm pretty sure he'll get some kind of a deal," Tywana Mullins said. "This will haunt him forever."

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