By Lyra Bordelon
Bond was denied and motions were heard in the murder case against Edward Alexander Smith-Allen for his alleged role in a June 2019 Dorie Miller Park murder. Two new motions were considered under Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dent, with the defense, defendant, prosecutor, and court reporter calling in remotely to the courtroom.
Smith-Allen was indicted for the murder of Alaisia M. Smith, a local Greenbrier East High School student, in October 2019.
In a motion submitted to the court, Kristopher Faerber, Smith-Allen’s defense attorney, asked he be placed on a $10,000 bond, released to the custody of his father, and placed in the Fayette County Home Incarceration program, citing his lack of previous criminal history.
“[Smith-Allen] states he will appear for all scheduled proceedings,” the motion reads. “The defendant surrendered himself to law enforcement in this matter. Further, the defendant can specify a third-party custodian to pledge he will appear for all scheduled hearings. … the defendant is prepared to submit to any level of supervision on bail, including home confinement, to bolster the lack of probability he will commit another crime.”
Greenbrier County Prosecutor Patrick Via pushed back against this, pointing to the murder charge, explaining that it was public safety, rather than court non-appearance, that was the state’s chief concern. In addition, Smith-Allen has previously left the state after being released on bond for a lesser charge relating to the murder investigation and had to be extradited back to West Virginia for further proceedings.
Judge Dent denied bond, saying “I do see it as a matter of public safety. Also, I am not comfortable with, nor do I believe it is at this point appropriate, that Fayette County Home Incarceration would have to do the monitoring of Mr. Smith-Allen. … There has been no evidence before me that they would be willing to do that nor am I going to place that burden on them. So giving that it is in the court’s discretion, it is a murder charge, public safety is paramount, and that there are no ties to Greenbrier County, and we would be asking another county to assist with monitoring, I’m going to deny the motion at this time.”
A second motion however was approved by Dent – the bifurcation of the case. This process separates the introduction of evidence during the trial into two phases, one for finding guilt and one examining potential sentencing. The case was divided to allow additional evidence to by submitted that would be relevant to sentencing, but not to the finding of guilt.
“Here, Mr. Smith-Allen intends to introduce evidence solely for the purpose of sentencing if the need arises,” Faerber writes in the motion. “For example, the defendant will call character witness at the sentencing phase. However, the defendant objects to inadmissible attacks on his character at the guilt phase, forcing him to open the door to the same in a unitary trial is an unfair prejudice. … Moreover, in a unitary trial evidence necessary for sentencing consideration will be inadmissible [during the guilt phase], thus causing extreme prejudice to the defendant.”
The criminal complaint states Smith-Allen was “playing with [a] gun and pointing it at people,” according to witnesses. One witness “said that the manner in which [Smith-Allen] was playing with the gun made her so uncomfortable that she left” and “before she left, the magazine had been ejected and two bullets fell out.” The bullets were “put back in the magazine and the magazine inserted into the pistol.” The complaint then states the witness told Smith-Allen “to put the gun down” but he “pulled the trigger and shot the victim” while “pointing the gun at the victim.”
“All of the witnesses said the shooting was accidental,” reads the complaint.
The case is expected to go to trial later this year.