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Press Release

South Carolina Man Indicted for Murder of NMSP Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Jaremy Smith with the murder of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare. Smith, 33, of South Carolina, is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges April 18, 2024.

According to court documents, on March 15, 2024, Smith attempted to flag down passing motorists on Interstate 40 in Quay County, New Mexico, to assist with a flat tire. Smith had stolen the vehicle, a white BMW, from South Carolina on or about March 13, 2024, and drove it to New Mexico before it became disabled. NMSP Officer Justin Hare was dispatched to the scene to assist Smith. Upon Officer Hare’s arrival at approximately 5:04 a.m. that morning, Smith approached the passenger side of Officer Hare’s patrol vehicle where the two engaged in a short conversation. Smith then shot Officer Hare with a Taurus 9mm pistol that he had stolen from South Carolina.

Afterward, Smith walked to the driver’s side window and shot Officer Hare two additional times. Smith then entered Officer Hare’s patrol vehicle and drove it westbound Interstate 40 before taking the first exit. After driving some distance, Smith removed Officer Hare from the vehicle and then continued driving the patrol unit before eventually crashing it in Guadalupe County, New Mexico. Officer Hare succumbed to the injuries that Smith inflicted during the course of the carjacking and kidnapping.

The federal indictment charges Smith with carjacking resulting in death, causing death by the discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, kidnapping resulting in death, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and interstate transport of a stolen vehicle.

If convicted of the current charges, Smith faces a mandatory life sentence or death for the kidnapping resulting in death charge, and any number of years up to life or death for the carjacking and discharge of a firearm offenses.

There is no parole in the federal system.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office and New Mexico State Police investigated this case with assistance from the Tenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. States Attorneys Paul Mysliwiec and Jack Burkhead are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated April 11, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-140