updated 10/20/2007 1:17:35 AM ET 2007-10-20T05:17:35

Authorities charged a man Friday with killing another man, a woman and her two children in their sleep in an attack that brought fresh pleas for residents to help police fight violent crime.

Patrick Smith, 31, was arraigned Friday night on four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of felony murder in the deaths of Jason Davis, 34; Lynnette Lawson, 28; and Lawson’s children, Alexus Eppinger, 9; and Terrence Eppinger Jr., 5.

A judge entered not guilty pleas on behalf of Smith, who court officials said did not yet have an attorney. He was ordered held without bail.

Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said Smith “was a very close associate” of Davis.

Smith was picked up at a motel Thursday afternoon after police received an anonymous tip related to a sport utility vehicle driven from the scene. Bully-Cummings said police don’t know who called in the tip, but she thanked that person for having “the courage to step up and get involved.”

The victims were shot early Thursday as they slept in a home that had wooden boards nailed to its doors and windows. Neighbors called it a hub of drug activity, Bully-Cummings said.

Bully-Cummings would not release a motive or say if police were seeking other suspects, but said the case still was under investigation.

Smith also was charged with using a firearm during a felony, being a felon in possession and as a habitual offender because of convictions for controlled substances and escaping from jail, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a news release.

Smith’s criminal record reaches back to 1995 and also includes weapons and assault charges, Bully-Cummings said.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments