Crime

Death penalty sought for accused Eastman cop killer

Eastman's tribute to Officer Tim Smith

Eastman police officer Tim Smith's community is heartbroken after he was shot and killed while answering a call Aug. 13, 2016.
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Eastman police officer Tim Smith's community is heartbroken after he was shot and killed while answering a call Aug. 13, 2016.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a man accused of gunning down Eastman police officer Timothy Kevin Smith last summer.

A filing in Dodge County Superior Court on Wednesday noted the state’s intent to pursue capital punishment against Royheem Delshawn Deeds.

The GBI and other officials have said that Smith was in his squad car on the night of Aug. 13 answering a call about a man with a gun when he encountered Deeds, who was said to have then pulled a pistol and, unprovoked, opened fire on Smith.

Smith, 30, was shot in his upper chest and later died.

Prosecutors cited Smith’s slaying while “engaged in the performance of his official duties” as a statutory aggravating circumstance in their notice to pursue the death penalty.

Deeds, who was 24 when he was jailed in the days after Smith’s slaying, faces charges that include malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a first-offender probationer.

Slain Eastman Police Officer Tim Smith's body is carried by the North Carolina Troopers Association Caisson Unit to a horse drawn wagon from the Dodge County High School gym after his funeral service there on Aug.18, 2016.

Deeds was arrested two days later in Nassau County, Florida, after police there pulled over a car Deeds was riding in. Authorities said he was hiding in the car’s trunk.

At the time he was on probation after pleading guilty to an aggravated assault charge earlier that year in a case that involved his shooting someone in the leg in neighboring Telfair County, officials have said.

Deeds has ties to the south Middle Georgia hamlets of Milan, Chauncey, McRae and Lumber City, which sits in the southeast corner of Telfair not far from where the Ocmulgee River flows into the Altamaha.

Since his arrest, he has been held without bond in the Glynn County jail.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

Joe Kovac Jr.: 478-744-4397, @joekovacjr

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