'This was one of the most tragic cases,' Coast prosecutor says of man whose crash killed his mom

Marshall Austin Smith
Marshall Austin Smith

Marshall Austin Smith, 26, of D'Iberville pleaded guilty to second degree murder Monday in the 2015 killing death of his mother, District Attorney Tony Lawrence announced in a press release.

Millicent Smith, 48, attempted to defuse a confrontation involving her son at Pepe's Mexican Restaurant in D'Iberville on July 30, 2015, when she jumped into his vehicle, Lawrence said.

Marshall Smith drove nearly 80 mph through a 25 mph zone while attempting to elude law enforcement, Lawrence said. After entering Jackson County, Lawrence said, Marshall Smith lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree, killing his mother on impact.

The investigation by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and D'Iberville Police Department revealed Marshall Smith had methamphetamine and THC in his system at the time of the crash.

Judge Robert Krebs sentenced Smith to 40 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, 16 to serve without possibility of parole. Smith was also handed a $2,000 fine, all court costs and $250 to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. Krebs also recommended Smith for placement in the long-term therapeutic drug and alcohol treatment program.

"The defendant’s sisters lost their mother due to his actions. They have consistently said they wanted him held accountable, but also were against a lengthy sentence," Lawrence said in a release. "I think this case not only shows the tragic results of driving while impaired, but also how families are left to deal with the terrible effects that it causes.”

Assistant District Attorney Cherie Wade said in the release she was moved by the "visible remorse" displayed by Smith in the courtroom.

“This was one of the most tragic cases I’ve seen as a prosecutor," she said. "While the Court imposed a lengthy day for day jail sentence, the true punishment is that this defendant will have to carry with him the weight of causing his mother’s death for the rest of his life."

In June 2016 the Sun Herald reported Smith was extradited back to Jackson County from Rankin County, where he served a sentence for violating his probation in another case. At the time he was on probation for a Harrison County burglary "and the arrest put him back in prison," according to the report.

While leaving Pepe's, Smith rammed a vehicle and then nearly hit two police vehicles with their blue lights on when they attempted to stop him.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2326, @patrickochs