February 26, 2007
JOLIET – A jury deliberated for 15 minutes Monday before finding a Bolingbrook man guilty of shooting another man in the hallway of a Bolingbrook apartment complex last year.
Paul A. Smith, 34, of 511 Preston Drive, was convicted of one count of aggravated battery with a firearm Monday. He faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced before Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on March 29.
Smith shot Marvis Smith in the left side on April 28, 2006 in the hallway at 610 Preston Drive. Marvis Smith, who is not related to the assailant, was permanently paralyzed below the waist after the bullet severed his spinal cord. He also suffered injuries to his lung, pancreas and spleen.
Paramedics transported Marvis Smith to the Will County Courthouse Monday morning to testify against the shooter. He was wheeled into the courthouse on a hospital gurney and then secured in a wheelchair for his testimony.
At one point, Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Chris Regis faced the prospect of trying the case without Marvis Smith’s eyewitness testimony. Shortly before the trial started on Feb. 20, the victim was hospitalized after he suffered a severe infection that was linked to complications stemming from his injuries. It was unclear last week whether he would recover in time to testify.
“The obstacles these two skilled prosecutors faced were unavoidable, but they handled these difficulties with tremendous professionalism” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. “The evidence they presented to jurors left no doubt that Paul Smith was the shooter. Their excellent work will take a dangerous man off the streets.”
Paul Smith arrived at the apartment complex in the evening on April 28, 2006 and confronted Marvis Smith in the hallway. The two men scuffled before Paul Smith produced a gun and fired two rounds, one of which injured Marvis Smith.
Several of Marvis Smith’s family members witnessed the shooting and testified during the four-day trial. A motive for the shooting was never revealed during the trial.
Glasgow praised Bolingbrook police for their rapid response to the report of shots fired. Officers took Paul Smith into custody within 15 minutes of the shooting.
Paul Smith already was convicted following a bench trial before Judge Bertani-Tomczak in October on one count of being an armed habitual criminal in connection with the Marvis Smith shooting.
That charge, which is a Class X felony, alleged that Paul Smith possessed a firearm on the night Marvis Smith was shot after he already had been convicted of a residential burglary and an aggravated battery with a firearm. The residential burglary and aggravated battery with a firearm both occurred in Cook County.
Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
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