November 17, 2012 10:53:15 PM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
German Smith, son of Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, appeared Friday in Lowndes County Circuit Court for a bond revocation hearing.
Smith was recently indicted in federal court for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. As a result of that charge, his bond from his 2008 robbery conviction was revoked.
Represented by Columbus attorney William Starks, Smith requested the hearing to defend his stance that he was not guilty of the possession of a weapon charge and therefore did not violate the terms of his parole.
Heavily-tattooed, and dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Smith appeared in court with a Bible in his left front pocket Friday. Before the trial, and during a brief recess, he continuously talked with the dozen or so family members who were present to support him.
He pleaded guilty to a burglary charge in May 2008 and was sentenced to serve three years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and five years post-release supervision.
On May 28, 2012, he was arrested by the Mississippi Highway Patrol as the result of a traffic stop.
A Mississippi state trooper pulled over a tan Grand Marquis on Main Street in Columbus for not having a license plate.
Travis Miller was the driver of the vehicle. D'Mario Smith (no relation to German Smith) was sitting in the back seat and German Smith was sitting in the front passenger seat.
The trooper testified in court Friday that when he approached the vehicle, he saw German Smith lean to the left. As the trooper approached vehicle's passenger side, he saw a clip to a Hi-Point .40 caliber handgun sitting on German Smith's lap.
He ordered the three men to get out of the vehicle and handcuffed Travis Miller and D'Mario Smith while he radioed for backup.
The trooper testified that he only had two sets of handcuffs with him at the time and, having dealt with German Smith on prior incidents, did not feel threatened by him.
When Miller was questioned, he admitted there was a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun in the glove compartment. But the clip in German Smith's lap did not fit the Smith & Wesson, leading the trooper to believe another gun was inside the vehicle.
An officer with the Columbus Police Department arrived on the scene, shined a flashlight inside the vehicle and saw the handle of a gun sticking out near the passenger seat.
The trooper testified the gun, a Hi-Point .40 caliber matching the clip on German Smith's lap, was wedged between the seat and the console and would have been directly under German Smith's left knee.
The gun was not registered but investigators discovered it was purchased by German Smith's identical twin, Sherman Smith, approximately two months before the May incident.
When questioned on the scene about the owner of the gun, German Smith reportedly told the trooper, "God must have put it there."
Both Travis Miller and Sherman Smith testified on German Smith's behalf.
Smith was found guilty of violating his parole for possession of a weapon by a felon.
His bond from the May 2008 robbery was revoked, and he was sentenced to serve five years with MDOC.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.