Richmond Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Carjacking and Double Murder
RICHMOND, Va. – Joseph Thomas Smith, 29, of Richmond, Va., was sentenced today to life in prison for his role in a carjacking that resulted in the death of two individuals.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Richmond Field Office; Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Division Office; and Sheriff A.A. “Tony” Lippa, Jr., Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, made the announcement after the sentencing by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.
Court records show that on May 15, 2007, Joseph Thomas Smith, Adam White and Sheppard Thomas, participated in a home invasion and robbery of Jamal Nasir. Nine days later, on May 24, 2007, Joseph Smith, India Smith, Kevin Coleman, Sheppard Thomas, and Levon Smith abducted and murdered Nasir and another individual, Willie Smith. Believing that Nasir was in the possession of a substantial amount of money, India Smith engaged in a series of telephone calls with Jamal Nasir to lure him to Levon Smith’s house. Once Nasir was inside the house, he was immediately attacked and restrained with duct tape. Joseph Smith noticed that there was another individual in Nasir’s car and directed Levon Smith and Kevin Coleman to bring that person (Willie Smith) into the home, which they did at gunpoint. Willie Smith was beaten, restrained with duct tape, and forced to lie on the floor beside Jamal Nasir.
The investigation further revealed that Joseph Smith, Kevin Coleman, India Smith, Levon Smith, and Sheppard Thomas forced Jamal Nasir and Willie Smith into the trunk of Nasir’s vehicle and eventually went to Jamal Nasir’s home, where the back door was kicked in and the house was robbed. After the robbery, Joseph Smith directed Sheppard Thomas to ride with Kevin Coleman in Nasir’s vehicle to a location in Caroline County Virginia. Joseph Smith and India Smith drove to the same location in another vehicle. Upon arriving in Caroline County, Joseph Smith directed Kevin Coleman and Sheppard Thomas to stop on what appeared to be a deserted road.
Kevin Coleman opened the trunk of Nasir’s Lexus and determined that Nasir appeared to be alive. Nasir tried to get out of the trunk. At that time Kevin Coleman fired a shot into the air with the 9mm pistol, and forced Nasir back into the trunk of the car. Joseph Smith slammed the trunk shut. Joseph Smith, Kevin Coleman, India Smith, and Sheppard Thomas drove back to Richmond, Virginia. It was approximately 79 degrees in Caroline County on that date. At approximately 7:00 p.m. that evening, an individual contacted the Caroline County Sheriff's Office to report a suspicious vehicle in her driveway. Law enforcement officers arrived and discovered Nasir’s vehicle, which was running with the temperature and blower for the heat on high. The bodies of Jamal Nasir and Willie Smith were discovered in the trunk.
“This case involved a brutal and senseless crime that affected not only the families of Jamal Nasir and Willie Smith, but the citizens of Caroline County and the Eastern District of Virginia at large,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “The severe nature of the crime more than justified the long sentences imposed for all of the defendants. This case is a clear demonstration of the success possible when federal, state and local law enforcement coordinate their efforts and resources to ensure that justice is served.”
“This case exemplifies the significant community impact that is achieved through the joint efforts of federal law enforcement agencies and their local partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Morehart. “The FBI would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of both the DEA and Caroline County Sherriff’s Office in bringing this case to a successful conclusion, and in doing so making the Richmond community a safer place to live.”
Sheriff Tony Lippa stated, “I am pleased and honored to announce on behalf of the men and women of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office that this four year investigation has been brought to a successful conclusion. I also wish to recognize the cooperation of Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, Henrico Police Department, King George County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond Police Department, Virginia State Police, DEA, FBI, and the United States Marshals that helped bring the defendants to justice.”
The following individuals have been sentenced for their role in the robbery, carjacking and murders of Jamal Nasir and Willie Smith:
- Kevin Lamont Coleman, 31, of Richmond, Va., pled guilty on August 2, 2010, to Carjacking Resulting in Death, and on October 29, 2010, was sentenced to fifty years in prison;
- India Perleta Smith, 25, of Richmond, Va., pled guilty on July 22, 2010, to Carjacking Resulting in Death, and on October 22, 2010, was sentenced to thirty years in prison;
- Cary Sheppard Thomas, III, 31, of Richmond, Va., pled guilty on July 27, 2010, and on October 29, 2010, was sentenced to 45 years in prison;
- Levon Jermaine Smith, 25, of Richmond, Va., pled guilty on July 27, 2010, to Carjacking Resulting in Death, and on November 5, 2010, was sentenced to forty years in prison; and
- Adam Benjamin White, 30, of Richmond, Va., pled guilty on October 1, 2010, to Robbery Affecting Commerce, and on February 11, 2011, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Roderick C. Young prosecuted the case.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.