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Fatal shooting of girlfriend nets Highland man 55 years’ prison

Updated: April 24, 2013 6:09AM



Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced a Highland man Friday to 55 years in prison for murder in the 2012 shooting death of his live-in girlfriend.

Douglas Anthony Smith, 27, was convicted Feb. 14 in the death of Jacqueline Williams, 28, after jurors deliberated about two hours.

Smith said he plans to appeal.

Williams was shot in the eye with a .357-Magmum revolver as she lay on her back on the bedroom floor, naked from the waist down and her robe open. The bullet passed through her skull and into the lower level of the tri-level residence. Williams was killed Jan. 14, 2012, at their residence at 2611 40th Place, but her body wasn’t found until two days later when Williams’ co-workers at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago became concerned she hadn’t shown up for work.

Smith testified the shooting was accidental and that he wasn’t aware where Williams was wounded.

Evidence showed Smith called his mother to check on Williams two days after the murder once he had fled to Florida, a point that deputy prosecutor Sabrina Haney argued pointed to Smith’s character.

Devastated family members on both sides of the case described Williams as a beautiful, kind and loving woman with a contagious smile.

Smith’s mother, Rita, said while trial testimony focused on the couple’s tumultuous relationship that involved both of them drinking to excess, no one talked about how much in love they were or how much fun they had when they were together. “Two families have been devastated,” Smith said.

Haney presented evidence that Smith was dealing marijuana from the residence.

Defense attorney William Padula argued for leniency in light of his client’s minimal criminal history and his genuine remorse.

Smith said he loved Williams. “I never intended for his to happen,” he said.



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