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Hagerstown man pleads no contest to voluntary manslaughter in Club Zero shooting death

May 21, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Brock Jerome Smith
Brock Jerome Smith

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Hagerstown man pleaded no contest Monday morning to voluntary manslaughter in the January 2011 shooting death of Damon M. Scott.

Brock Jerome Smith, 23, is scheduled to be sentenced July 16. He is expected to be ordered to serve three years in prison as part of a plea agreement.

Smith also is expected to be ordered to pay restitution, but will be credited for time he has served at Eastern Regional Jail, where he has been incarcerated since Jan. 19, 2011, according to jail records and Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

Scott was shot just after 3 a.m. Jan. 15, 2011, outside of Club Zero, which operated at 1774 Winchester Ave., just south of Martinsburg.

Games-Neely said after what was to be a pretrial hearing Monday that Smith and Scott knew each other.

“They did time (in prison) together in Maryland,” Games-Neely said.

Club Zero’s license was canceled after the shooting, according to the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration’s online database.

Police have said that Scott had gunshot entry wounds on the right side of his chest and on his back above his right kidney.

Police found 9 mm shell casings outside the club after the shooting, but the firearms used in the shooting were never found, Games-Neely told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes on Monday.

A witness testified in a preliminary hearing in Berkeley County Magistrate Court last year that he saw Smith, of 623 George St., jump into the passenger seat of a car that later was identified as a Chrysler 300 and leave the club parking lot.

A witness told police that Smith shot Scott, who was also known as “Gotti,” in self-defense after Scott pulled a gun on Smith and attempted to rob him, according to court records.

Smith said during Monday’s hearing that Scott held the gun “at my head” before Wilkes advised him to stop speaking.

After the shooting, the Chrysler was pursued by West Virginia authorities into Maryland. Games-Neely said Monday authorities believe the gun Smith used was tossed from the vehicle while they fled north on Interstate 81. She indicated the weapon that Scott had the night of the shooting was retrieved from the club parking lot by someone from Scott’s neighborhood. The vehicle chase ended near Clear Spring when the car went off U.S. 40 and crashed in a wooded area, Maryland State Police have said.

Smith, upon entering the no-contest plea, told Wilkes he was currently on parole or probation in another jurisdiction, and Games-Neely indicated after Monday’s hearing that Smith had “10 years (of prison time) hanging over his head in Maryland.”

After completing his sentence in West Virginia, Smith is expected to be transferred to Maryland, Wilkes noted in reviewing the plea agreement.

Games-Neely told the court that Scott’s family had been in agreement with the plea agreement for some time.
 
Evidentiary issues, intoxication of shooting witnesses and the past relationship of Smith and Scott factored into the plea agreement that was reached, according to Games-Neely.

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