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Roanoke jury acquits teen involved in mall shooting

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A Roanoke teenager charged with malicious wounding after a shooting inside Valley View Mall has been found not guilty on all charges.

A Roanoke jury deliberated about an hour before returning the verdict late Thursday afternoon.

Nashawn Smith was 16 at the time of the incident. He’s 17 now, and was being tried as an adult on three charges, including malicious wounding.

There was no dispute that Smith fired one round December 26.

One person was wounded during the brief encounter that sent shoppers scrambling for cover.

During testimony Thursday, Smith said he acted in self-defense. He said the victim had threatened him and was pulling a gun when Smith fired the weapon.

The jury began deliberating around 4 p.m., but not before Judge David Carson dismissed one of the jurors.

After the lunch break, the juror reported a close relative of the defendant texted the juror’s husband and said Smith was the person on trial and the relative wanted him to know. Carson said it was “untenable” for the juror to continue, and he replaced her with an alternate.

After the verdict, family members shed tears in the courtroom. And Smith emerged from the courthouse to congratulations.

Smith’s attorney, Patrick Kenney, said they were very pleased with the verdict.

“We believed in our case. Nashawn believed in his case,” Kenney said. “And we are happy that the jury arrived at the verdict that they did.”

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