Hwy 169 shooting suspect accused of witness tampering from jail
(FOX 9) - Explosive new allegations have come as prosecutors claim the Highway 169 shooting suspect Jamal Smith is tampering with witnesses during phone calls from jail.
The state reviewed the accused gunman’s jailhouse calls from before his extradition to Minnesota, as well as his month or so behind bars in Hennepin County.
They allege Smith reached out to people to delete his Facebook page that reportedly contains photographic evidence and posts of his gun possession and whereabouts the night of the deadly road rage shooting.
He is also accused of reaching out to a witness, telling them to stop cooperating with investigators. He also reportedly suggested getting a lawyer to help them recant prior statements, or plead the fifth and not testify at all.
Prosecutors insisted during bail arguments that Smith remains a threat to public safety even in jail.
They also accused him of putting a $25,000 bounty on a man he wants killed, apparently unrelated to the murder of Jay Boughton. They asked Judge Nicole Engisch to revoke Smith’s jailhouse phone privileges, something she said she would rule on after both sides submit written arguments.
Meanwhile, the defense called the state’s claims "just allegations" at this point. In fact, Smith’s attorney asked for his $3.5 million bail to be lowered significantly, arguing his client is not the monster the state and news media are making him about to be.
They also contend prosecutors don’t actually know who pulled the trigger and that there is reasonable doubt up and down the case.
Judge Engisch left bail at $3.5 million, stating that she had public safety concerns and worried about Smith making future court appearances.
The next hearing in the case is set for Dec. 1.