The long saga of a horrific crime finally came to an end in an Oakland courtroom on Wednesday. Oakland resident Cameron Smith, 23, was sentenced to seven years in state prison for fatally shooting of 19-year-old Eondre Bolton of Richmond in a busted marijuana deal.
Smith was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Bolton and attempted murder for the wounding of Bolton’s companion Maurice Hanks in the parking lot of the Target store in Emeryville shortly after 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2017.
But in a verdict on April 11 in a courtroom packed with members of Smith’s and Bolton’s families, jurors found Smith not guilty of first-degree murder and second-degree murder on the charge for Bolton’s death but deadlocked on the lesser included charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Jurors also found Smith not guilty of attempted murder for the shooting of Hanks, assault with a semiautomatic gun and shooting at an occupied vehicle.
A judge declared a mistrial on the charge involving Bolton’s death and on May 3, Smith pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and an enhancement clause that he used a gun.
The plea agreement called for the low term of three years for manslaughter and the middle term of four years for using a gun.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer formally sentenced Smith on Wednesday.
Alameda County prosecutor Butch Ford told jurors in his closing argument in the case that Smith should be convicted of first-degree murder and the other charges because he thinks the shooting was “an execution.”
Ford admitted that Bolton and Hanks acted with provocation by trying to steal marijuana from Smith but said Smith wasn’t in any danger when he fatally shot Bolton.
Ford said Bolton already had been shot multiple times and was fleeing for his life when Smith shot him in the back of his head and killed
him. “When you chase somebody down, that’s first-degree murder,” Ford said.
But Smith’s lawyer Christina Moore said Smith feared for his life and shot Bolton in self-defense only after Bolton shot at him and robbed him of a garbage bag of marijuana.
Moore said Smith arranged to meet Bolton at the parking lot because he thought it would be a safe place, but Smith “didn’t know that he (Bolton) planned to rob him and take his life if necessary.”