Man who disappeared from his trial is sought after jury finds him guilty

March 17, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Police were looking for Davon Earl Smith yesterday -- three days after he absconded from the Baltimore County Courthouse in the middle of his trial on drug charges.

Smith, who was free on $10,000 bail, was convicted in absentia Friday -- two hours after his disappearance -- on charges of heroin possession and distribution, as well as possessing narcotics paraphernalia.

"He voted with his feet," joked Circuit Judge J. Norris Byrnes yesterday. The judge, who issued a bench warrant for Smith's arrest, said the 25-year-old was the first defendant to flee during a trial in his courtroom in the eight years he has been a judge.

Byrnes said he waited for the jury to announce its verdict before telling them what had happened.

But once the verdict was in, "I said, 'I'm not allowed to comment on your verdict, but the defendant did -- and he apparently agreed with you.' "

The judge also noted that because of a prior conviction, Smith "would be a two-time loser" facing a minimum of 10 years in

prison without parole.

Smith was living in the 100 block of Twin Circle Way in Lansdowne at the time of his arrest in July 1996, when police found 13.9 grams of heroin with drug paraphernalia, including a cutting agent, gel caps and several hundred glass vials.

Police also found phony identification cards with Smith's photograph, receipts for items he had purchased -- and his fingerprints.

Yesterday, prosecutor Patrick L. Feeney said he was surprised when Smith didn't return to the courthouse.

"He was the most punctual defendant in the world," said the prosecutor, noting that on several occasions when Smith's trial was being postponed, he always showed up on time.

Smith's lawyer, Gary Ticknor, did not return a reporter's call.

Pub Date: 3/17/98

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