22 years later: Man arrested in fatal 2001 gang shooting of father and 2-year-old daughter

Francis Akhalbey November 07, 2023
Jahon Terez Smith (left) faces multiples charges in connection with the shooting deaths of Stephen Murphy and his daughter Kali -- Left photo credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department | Right photo via KTLA

Authorities in California on Friday announced they had arrested a suspect in connection with the shooting deaths of a 25-year-old man and his 2-year-old daughter in 2001. According to KABC, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that Jahon Terez Smith, 47, faces a slew of charges linked to several shooting incidents that year.

“The special circumstance of multiple murder is alleged,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “It also is alleged that the attempted murders were committed willfully, deliberately and with premeditation, and that in the commission of the crimes, the defendant personally used a handgun.”

Investigators said Stephen Murphy and his daughter Kali Murphy were gunned down on August 8, 2001, as a result of gang violence stemming from the shooting death of a 22-year-old man in Compton the day prior.

Authorities said the individual, identified as Richard Lawrence, was shot and killed in what was suspected to have been caused by “an ongoing war at the time” between two feuding street gangs. 

L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Hugo Reynaga said there were five different drive-by shootings the night after Lawrence’s killing, adding that it was believed to be retaliation for Lawrence’s shooting death, KABC reported.

“Although Wednesday was definitely a good day for Stephen and Kali’s family, as well as for investigators, it was not a great day. This case is not over by any means,” Reynaga said.

Authorities said Murphy and his daughter were gunned down during a visit to the 2-year-old’s grandmother’s home. The victims were shot when Murphy was about to put his daughter in his car. The minor later succumbed to her injuries in a hospital.

Smith has since been charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder.

“Let this also be a reminder to all that who believe that they can evade the arm of the law, that no matter how long and how much time passes, we will never stop pursuing justice on behalf of the victims and their families,” Gascón said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 7, 2023


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