Crime

Accused teen killer denied bond in Macon love triangle case

Demarcus Smith was 16 years old when he was charged with murder earlier this year, accused of shooting a man to death in east Macon.

On Jan. 9, when Smith admits he shot 20-year-old Kemani Ridgeway, he was serving multiple sentences for juvenile offenses -- including two aggravated assaults, gang violations and obstruction, among other charges, prosecutor Larissa Olliverre told a judge during a bond hearing Thursday.

Through his lawyer, the now 17-year-old Smith relayed to the judge that those charges were for offenses he committed when he was 13 and 14.

He has a young daughter now and has committed himself to God and to turning his life around, defense attorney Alan Wheeler said.

Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin denied bond, saying Smith's juvenile record shows he's "unwilling to get it right."

"You have done nothing with your life thus far to show that you want to be a contributing member, a productive member of society," Colvin said. "You continually get in trouble. Continually."

Juvenile Court is the place where young people are supposed to get "slapped on the wrist, admonished enough that you change your conduct," she said. "The bottom line is if you don't follow the rules, when the rules are broken you have to deal with the consequence. And that's something apparently along the way you didn't get."

Smith has been held without bond since his Jan. 10 arrest, first in a regional youth detention center and, after his 17th birthday, at the Bibb County jail.

In his argument for Smith to be released on bond, Wheeler said Smith and Ridgeway were both romantically involved with the same 19-year-old woman.

"Mr. Ridgeway knew about what was going on between his girlfriend and my client," Wheeler said.

At some point, Ridgeway and Smith talked.

"My client tried to tell him that he really wasn't interested in her, but he was being pursued," Wheeler said.

Late on the afternoon of Jan. 9, Smith was walking in the east Macon neighborhood where he and Ridgeway lived when Ridgeway drove by with his girlfriend in the car. Ridgeway pulled into a driveway and confronted Smith, he said.

"He starts poking him in the chest, head butting him, basically saying 'we're going to finish this right here'," Wheeler said. "Then he hauls off and spits on my client."

Wheeler described Ridgeway as a mixed martial arts fighter who was older and bigger than Smith.

Olliverre argued that Ridgeway's girlfriend, who witnessed the shooting and called 911, has told a different version of what happened.

The girlfriend didn't say Ridgeway spat on Smith or that there was any physical fighting, she said.

"It was pretty much a verbal altercation," she said. "This defendant just pulled out a gun and shot him in the heart."

Authorities have said the girlfriend drove Ridgeway from the shooting site -- on Tredway Drive near Shurling Drive -- to a nearby gas station to call for help. He was pronounced dead at a hospital about six hours later.

Olliverre said Smith admitted his gang affiliation to police and that he'd shot Ridgeway. Two men who'd been with him also admitted they were Smith's fellow gang members and that Smith shot Ridgeway.

Wheeler argued there's no evidence that the shooting was gang related.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 and find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.

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