Bailed on Murder Charge, He's Arrested for Shooting

The man who police say killed Robert Long execution-style was arrested again on Sunday and charged with shooting a man during an armed robbery.

Demetrius Smith, 25 of 416 Parrish St., is a convicted drug dealer who on July 8 was charged with shooting Robert Long twice in the head near the railroad tracks on Stricker Street. Less than two weeks before his murder on March 24, Long had agreed to become a witness against Jose J. Morales in a series of theft and witness-intimidation cases.

In the documents charging Smith with Long's murder, homicide detectives wrote that they "were able to develop the suspect, Demetrius Smith, as the person who shot the victim, Mr. Long. Witness(es) who will be identified at a later date, were located and interviewed. Mr. Demetrious Smith was positively identified as the person who shot Robert Long by the witness(es) through photographic array(s)."

A bail commissioner recommended that Smith be jailed pending trial, but District Court Judge Nathan Braverman released Smith on $350,000 bail, saying the police had not produced a strong enough case.

Former Assistant State's Attorney Page Croyder, who retired earlier this year, criticized Braverman in several blog posts at the Center for Emerging Media. After reviewing the case file, Croyder wrote that in her experience defendants like Smith were dangerous. She noted that his lawyer claimed he was a home-owner, but the house is not in his name. She suggested that his ability to easily make a $350,000 bail (his lawyer asked for "any bail") suggests Smith is a serious drug dealer, not a minor player. And she suggested that the cryptic charging documents were written carefully to protect the witnesses.

"Judge Braverman doesn't get that," Croyder wrote. "He is always complaining that he needs to know 'more.' How many witnesses? What did they say? He knows that a defendant can use this information to find out who the witness or witnesses are. He knows all about witness intimidation, and witness murder. He just doesn't care."

As the Baltimore Sun reports today, Smith was arrested on Aug. 24 and charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault, and handgun violations for allegedly shooting Clyde Hendricks, 56, in the leg during a robbery in the 400 block of Parrish Street. He was held without bail in the case.

Croyder says she's not surprised: "Who could have guessed" Smith would reoffend-"except maybe an experienced prosecutor."

Police sources say they know of no connection between Long's murder and Morales. Smith and Morales seem linked only by coincidence.

Smith's July 8 arrest came the same day Morales--who had outstanding warrants for skipping court in several cases--was tracked down to a Dundalk duplex and arrested. Despite Anne Arundel prosecutors' desire that he be detained pending an assault trial there, Jose bailed out of the Baltimore City Detention Center with $30,000 cash on July 25.

He resurfaced on Aug. 15 in Edinburg, Texas, where he plopped a bag containing $23,000 on an airport ticket counter and asked to charter a jet to Baltimore. Federal agents summoned to the scene soon discovered six kilos of cocaine, which Morales allegedly told them was to be sold in Baltimore to repay a $30,000 bail bond.

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