Prince William teenager sentenced to life without parole in double killing
A teenager who killed a mother and son during a botched burglary in their Dale City home was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Xavier Pinckney, now 18, fatally shot James M. Smith, 19, a college student who had just returned home for a holiday break, and Smith’s mother, Jean, 39, in December 2008.
Pinckney, then a junior at C.D. Hylton Senior High School, climbed through a window in the Smith’s home the afternoon of Dec. 19, 2008 with plans to steal valuables to sell for cash. He ended up shattering a family that was active and beloved in their community.
"This has had an unspeakable impact on myself and my children,” Rick Smith, Jean Smith’s husband and James Smith’s father said in court.
The couple’s youngest son, Liam, now 10, now goes to dayc are before and after school instead of coming home to his mother. Daughter Sarah, 23, celebrated her college graduation without her mother. And son Connor, now 17, still struggles with the memory of finding his brother's body.
James Smith, a Hylton graduate, studied musical theater at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Jean Smith was an active volunteer at Hylton, where she headed the chorus boosters club and was known as ‘Mama Smith’ to choir members.
The day of the killings, Pinckney crept inside the house thinking nobody was home, prosecutors have said. But James Smith, who had returned home late the night before after a trip with his a cappella group, was asleep on a couch.
Pinckney stole two guns, family heirlooms kept in the master bedroom, and had loaded one before he spotted James Smith. Pinckney later told police in a written confession that he kicked something and woke Smith. He said he shot the college student “out of reaction.”
Jean Smith, who had just arrived home, came inside to find her dying son, prosecutors said. Pinckney told police he fled, but returned to grab a jacket he had left behind. Fearing Jean Smith would recognize him, he shot her in the ear as she tried to call for help.
Pinckney ultimately made off with the guns, a laptop, James Smith’s cell phone and some ammunition. The stolen items were worth less than $1,000.
Pinckney was convicted in September of capital murder but could not be sentenced to death because he was 17 at the time of the slayings. The U.S. Supreme Court has banned the death penalty for juveniles.
February 19, 2010; 4:20 PM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Maria Glod , Pr. William
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