Jamal Smith trial proceeds through witness testimony Thursday

Thursday morning’s Jamal Smith murder trial testimony was highlighted by witness Danni Knight who traveled to court from his Wisconsin home. 

Prosecutors called Knight to talk about an interstate encounter he had with what is believed to be the suspect Suburban earlier in the day of July 6, 2021 - Jay Boughton was shot and killed later that night.

Knight testified he was on his way home from work on I-90 in Wisconsin when a light colored SUV came speeding up on his bumper. He brake-checked the motorist. He told the jury, "the next thing I know, I had a gun pointed at my windshield."

He confirmed he saw a gun from the driver seat, "hands out window, pointing a handgun."

Knight says he struggled to identify the driver in his rearview mirror, reporting only that the driver was black with dreadlocks. Smith also has dreadlocks.

Knight reported that he hit the accelerator in an attempt to outrun the vehicle, but could not. He said he grabbed his cell phone and pretended to record the vehicle in hopes that would scare away the SUV that he estimates was going between 85 to 90 miles per hour. Knight said, he eventually noticed the SUV had all its windows down and he had three guns pointed at him. He eventually called 911 to report the incident. 

He confirmed, no gunshots were ultimately fired.

On cross-examination, Smith’s defense team asked Knight about his call to 911, inquiring if Knight initially told dispatch that he saw four or five men in the vehicle. He insisted, he did not, and that he only saw three, "all pointing guns."

Prosecutors asked whether he flipped off the motorist, as has been alleged Boughton had done to enrage Smith. Knight confirmed that he did not give the occupants of the SUV the middle finger.

Witness testimony continued Thursday with Plymouth Police Department digital forensics investigator Nicholas Benesch. 

Benesch reviewed surveillance video of the suspected Suburban both before and after the deadly encounter along Highway 169. He also reviewed phone records and Facebook accounts of those involved. 

Cell phone locator records determined Smith's phone was in the Wisconsin Dells area, in the same general vicinity at about the same time as Knight's reported gun pointing incident. That was less than four hours before Boughton was shot to death.

Rondelle Hardin, Smith's girlfriend, testified in court Wednesday, telling the court she did not want to take the stand and was compelled to do so only after receiving a subpoena.