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Jamal Smith receives life sentence in fatal Hwy. 169 road rage shooting

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Jamal Smith sentenced in road rage attack
Jamal Smith sentenced in road rage attack 02:09

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Chicago man has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a father in a fit of road rage. 

Jay Boughton was killed in the summer of 2021. The youth baseball coach was driving on Highway 169 in Plymouth with his 16-year-old son.

His son says Boughton honked and gestured at another driver, then bullets flew into their car, and they crashed.

A few months ago, a jury decided Jamal Smith pulled the trigger. He was found guilty of three charges, including murder. 

jamal-smith-.png
Jamal Lindsey Smith (credit: Hennepin County)

Following an emotional hearing with several victim statements from Boughton's family, Smith was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 30 years. 

Follow live updates below. 

 

Jamal Smith, defense attorney blast verdict: "So much disrespect"

MINNEAPOLIS – Jamal Smith had the chance to address the court Tuesday in his sentencing hearing for the murder of Jay Boughton - and he wasn't shy with his time. He neither accepted responsibility nor acknowledged the pain of a grieving family.

"So much disrespect, such slander, so little, any respect for the judicial system," Smith said.

His attorney, Emmett Donnelly, ratcheted up the rhetoric even further, implying the jury wasn't diverse enough and threatened appeals.

Smith's defense, which proved unsuccessful, was that prosecutors couldn't prove Smith shot Boughton when there was at least one other armed friend in Smith's SUV.

Jamal Smith, defense attorney lash out against murder sentence 02:12

"This is an Innocence Project case waiting to happen," Donnelly said.

Tuesday's sentencing ended a yearlong wait for justice for the Boughton family. Jay's widow, Kristin, kept the focus on her late husband instead of Smith, whom she refused to acknowledge by name.

"I think today brings some sense of closure to the legal system, and the legal system was fair to us," Kirsten said. "But at the end of the day it doesn't bring my husband back. He's missed and we love him so much."

As for the fate of those two other individuals in the SUV that night of July 6, Plymouth Police Chief Erik Fadden tells WCCO the investigation is closed. They are not pursuing anyone else.

By Jonah Kaplan
 

Jay Boughton's family urges judge for stiff sentence for Jamal Smith

MINNEAPOLIS – The man convicted of gunning down a youth baseball coach in a road rage attack will spend the rest of his life in prison.   

Tuesday's sentencing of Jamal Smith wraps up more than a year of waiting for justice by the family of Jay Boughton, who was shot and killed on Highway 169.

It certainly brought a sense of relief, but for the Boughton family, this may be their toughest challenge yet. Ever since Jay died, there was something on the calendar to look forward to: an arrest, the trial, the sentencing. Now that it's over, it's truly time to grieve.

"Jay was light, we are light, God is light, we will stay in the light and that light will not be overcome by darkness," said Kristin Boughton, Jay's wife.

Harrison Boughton, Jay's son, wore yellow Tuesday, alongside his family members and friends. He was in the passenger seat the night Smith shot and killed his father.

Jamal Smith sentenced in road rage attack 02:09

"I'd like to be like him. He was kind, nice, very respectful. He was a great person and we miss him," Harrison said.

He took the stand before a jury last summer during Smith's two week trial. On Tuesday, he joined his mother, sister and grandmother in front of the judge, urging her to impose the stiff sentence. 

"He took my son from me, but no one will ever, ever destroy my memories of Jay and the many blessings I received from having him in my life," said Nova Boughton, Jay's mother. "Mr. Smith, please get help."

The judge didn't need any convincing for a life sentence, since Minnesota law mandates it for anyone convicted of first-degree murder. But even as the news Tuesday focused on Smith's future, the Boughton family insisted today and everyday will always be about Jay.

"And I know Jay is looking down from heaven saying, 'I'm so proud of you, Sweet. I'm so proud of you, Harrison. I'm so proud of you Amalie,'" Kristin said.

By Jonah Kaplan
 

"There's some peace": Family speaks after sentencing

Following Jamal Smith's life sentence being handed down, family of the victim Jay Boughton spoke. 

WCCO will have updates throughout the day, so check back here and on CBS News Minnesota. 

By Jonah Kaplan
 

Digital update from Jonah Kaplan

Watch Jonah Kaplan's digital update late Tuesday morning below. WCCO will have more coverage throughout the day, so check back here and on CBS News Minnesota.

Jamal Smith receives life sentence in fatal Hwy 169 road rage shooting 01:46
By Jonah Kaplan
 

Smith sentenced to life in prison

The judge sentenced Jamal Smith to mandatory life in prison on his first-degree murder charge, with the possibility of parole after 30 years. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Jamal Smith speaks before sentencing: "Held accountable for actions that I did not do"

Jamal Smith addressed the courtroom before his sentencing, maintaining that while he was in the car that summer night he was not the one who shot Boughton. 

He also talked about his tough upbringing, saying despite everything he too is college educated and has a family of his own. He says respect for him in the courtroom was impossible given the media attention and the lack of diversity in the jurors selected.

"My parents raised me on responsibility and accountability," he said. "it's frustrating to see so many people in a position of power, yet I'm to be held accountable for actions that I did not do."

The defense team spoke before him, saying it was unfair and unconstitutional to sentence Smith to life in prison when others have not been prosecuted. They said there has been an utter failure of proof, as well as condemnation with no actual explanation of Smith's actions. 

His attorneys called it an Innocence Project case waiting to happen. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Emotional victim impact statements: "Please get help"

Jay Boughton's elderly mother gave a victim impact statement before the sentencing.

"I don't hate Mr. Smith, but I do hate, with all my being, guns. Especially what he did with his gun," she said. "He took my son from me, but no one will ever, ever destroy my memories of Jay and the many blessings I've received from having him in my lift. Mr. Smith, please get help."

Highway shooting victim's mother speaks at Jamal Smith's sentencing 02:49



Boughton's wife and two children also spoke. 

His kids talked about how much they miss their father, role model and best friend every day.

His wife said evil killed her husband that night on July 6, 2021 and she refused to say Smith's name out loud.

By WCCO Staff
 

Jamal Smith appearing virtually from jail

Following a 35-minute delay, Jamal Smith and his defense team are appearing virtually from jail. Court is now in session. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Before sentencing, victim impact statements will be read

A family spokesman says victim impact statements will include Jay Boughton's mother and his two children. 

As of 9:20 a.m., neither Jamal Smith nor his attorneys have arrived in the courtroom.  

By WCCO Staff
 

July 21: Jamal Smith found guilty on all 3 charges, including murder, in fatal Hwy 169 shooting

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Boughton family's yearlong wait for justice is over, even if it required an additional 16 hours for jury deliberations.

"This family has stayed in the light," a tearful Kristin Boughton, the widow of Jay Boughton, said after a jury delivered a verdict convicting Jamal Smith of Boughton's murder. "That has been our guiding force and factor. We've stayed out of anger and we've stayed in the light."

The guilty verdict on three counts, including murder, will send Smith to prison for a life sentence. According to prosecutors, Smith shot and killed Boughton on July 6, 2021, after the drivers had an altercation on Highway 169 in Plymouth. In the days following the incident, the police chief called the shooting "one of the most tragic events" he's witnessed in his 20 years of policing.

Family reacts after Jamal Smith found guilty of murder in fatal Hwy 169 shooting 02:39

The other two counts included charges of aiding and abetting a murder and illegal possession of weapons.

"We miss Jay so much," Kristin said Thursday. "He was a loving father and loving husband and a best friend to so many people, and today is just a step in the right direction."

Prosecutors called more than 30 witnesses and shared more than 100 exhibits over the course of the seven-day trial, which began on July 11. 

"I never wavered from the Plymouth police finding him. I always knew in my heart they would," she added.

From the outset, prosecutors described Smith as ticked off when Boughton honked and then gestured at his driving. The defense maintained there was no way he could drive and shoot, and implied it was someone else in the car who opened fire.

Following the opening statements, Kristin Boughton was the first witness to take the stand and testify.

"This has been the most painful experience of our lives," she lamented, adding that Monday, July 11, would've been Jay's 58th birthday.

The victim's 16-year-old son, Harrison Boughton, was also called as he was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting as he and his father drove home from a baseball game.

Harrison Boughton said the other car was "driving fast, getting close enough to make us swerve out of the way." He said his dad beeped his horn and "flipped off" the driver of that vehicle. Moments later he heard noise, glass breaking, and saw a circle in the window. Their vehicle crashed and he called 911.

See the full story by clicking here. 

By Jonah Kaplan
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