Citing his risk to public safety, a Hennepin County judge set bail options at $2 million or $1.5 million for the man accused of fatally shooting another driver on a Plymouth highway in July.
Jamal L. Smith, 33, of Chicago, made his first court appearance Thursday after being extradited from central Illinois. He is charged with one count each of intentional second-degree murder and aiding an offender for allegedly killing Jay Boughton, 56, of Crystal, on Hwy. 169 near Rockford Road on July 6.
Hennepin County District Judge Nicole Engisch set bail at $2 million with no conditions and $1.5 million with conditions that require Smith to remain law abiding, to refrain from possessing real or replica firearms and to have no contact with Boughton's family, among other requirements.
Engisch said a pretrial bail evaluation assigned Smith a high score based on his criminal history in Illinois. That and the nature of the alleged crime and a concern that Smith may evade future court appearances merited a high bail, she said.
"This is a category in which … setting high bail in my view is appropriate," the judge said. "I do have a concern for public safety that's based on the circumstances" of the case.
According to the charges, Boughton's teenage son, Harrison, told police that an SUV pulled up alongside them on the road. His father "gestured" at its driver and within 10 seconds, the son said, a bullet shattered the driver's side window and his father slumped over.
Despite claims made Wednesday that Smith was too violent to attend his originally scheduled hearing, Engisch said Thursday during the rescheduled hearing that Smith has been "very cooperative and gave forthcoming information."
"There's no indication from [a pretrial interview] of anything other than cooperative efforts on his part," the judge said.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Judith Cole proposed the $2 million and $1.5 million bail amounts, telling the court that Smith has five felony convictions in Illinois, including aggravated battery of a peace officer.
"The state does consider Mr. Smith to be both a public safety risk … and a flight risk given his lack of ties" to Minnesota, Cole said.
Hennepin County Public Defender Joseph McInnis, who represented Smith for the day, asked for $250,000 bail, arguing that Smith's convictions in Illinois were at least nine years old. He also noted that Smith has a girlfriend and son in Minnesota and was working construction in the state while looking after his disabled son.
"It's extremely high, but it takes into account Mr. Smith's financial circumstances and it's a significant amount that will ensure his appearance at trial," McInnis said of his proposed amount.
Smith is scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 11.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708