Charles A. (Tony) Smothers, III 19, was found guilty yesterday in D.C. Superior Court of murder, rape, kidnaping and robbery in the December slaying of a 43-year-old College Park woman.
Smothers, an escapee from the District's maximum security juvenile detention center at the time of the murder, laughed as deputy U.S. marshals led him from the courtroom after the jury delivered its verdict.
The youth's defense attorney argued during the seven-day trial that Smothers was mentally ill at the time of the incident and had asked the jury to find Smothers not guilty by reason of insanity.
After six hours of deliberation, however, the jury of four women and eight men found Smothers guilty of all charges in a 14-count indictment and rejected the insanity defense.
The victim, Maxine Hatfield, an employee of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. for 20 years, was abducted from Iverson Mall shopping center in Hillcrest Heights shortly before 7 p.m. Dec. 2, according to the government's case.
The following day, a passing motorist discovered the woman's frozen body on a roadside near St. Elizabeth Hospital in Southeast Washington. Mrs. Hatfield had been shot seven times and raped.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Shmanda contended that Smothers armed with a gun registered to his uncle, approached Mrs. Hatfield in the mall parking lot, forced her into her car and drove to the area near St. Elizabeths where he raped, shot and robbed her and then fled in the car.
A friend of Smothers testified for the government that the day Mrs. Hatfield disappeared Smothers showed him the gun and asked if he wanted to go to the mall and "make some money."
In his closing argument, Shmanda recalled that Smothers told his friend that "there are plenty of women walking around out there."
According to testimony, for two days after the abduction, Smothers drove friends around in Mrs. Hatfield's new car until the vehicle was spotted by police, who later arrested Smothers.Smothers lived with relatives at 2022 Shipley Ter. SE.
Smothers also gave a wrist watch, identified as Mrs. Hatfield's, to his girl friend's mother as an early Christman present, according to testimony.
The day police found Mrs. Hatfield's car, Smothers told a friend he had "killed a woman." According to the friend's testimony, Smothers said "don't ask me why. I just went off."
Defense attorney R. Kenneth Mundy argued that the remark, among other things, indicated Smothers suffered from a mental illness which made him unable to control his impulses.
Relatives testified that Smothers was an abandoned and abused child who suffered violent nightmares. A defense psychiatrist, who testified that Smothers was mentally ill, said the youth had inappropriate reactions to various situations. For example, Mundy told the jury, Smothers would grin "when there was nothing to grin about."
Shmanda argued that while Smother may have suffered emotional scars as a result of his upbringing, his behavior did not constitute mental illness. A psychologist and two psychiatrist, who testified for the government that in their opinion Smothers was not mentally ill at the time of the incident.
In reaching its verdict the jury had to decide first whether Smothers had committed the offenses and second, whether he should be held criminally responsible or whether he was not guilty because he was insane at the time of the incident.
About three months before Mrs. Hatfield was killed, Smothers had escaped from Oak Hill in Laurel, the city's maximum security facility for serious juvenile offenders, Shmanda said.
Smothers is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 19 before Judge Eugene N. Hamilton, who presided at the trial. Smothers could be sentenced to a minimum, mandatory term of 20 years in prison on the murder charge alone, Shmanda said.