Man to spend more than 30 years in prison for 2012 murder of Kannapolis teen

Man to spend more than 30 years in prison for 2012 murder of Kannapolis teen

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Darius Jamal Smotherson, who was captured getting off of a bus heading to Baltimore in 2012, will now spend more than thirty years in prison for the murder of Kannapolis teen Daniel Cooper.

Smotherson pleaded guilty in Rowan County Court on Monday to second degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The 22 year old was sentenced to at least 33 years in prison.

Smotherson was one of three charged was in the death of Daniel Cooper, 17, who was shot in the neck while on Snow Street on May 21, 2012.

Smotherson met Cooper to buy a half ounce of marijuana, according to investigators statements. Smotherson told others including co-defendants Damarick Harper and Reginald Clark, that he planned to rob Cooper.

While Clark and Harper were arrested in the days following the shooting, it took about a month to find Smotherson.

According to the Kannapolis Police Department, a call to Crime Stoppers led them to believe that Smotherson may be heading to the Baltimore area on a bus that left from Georgia.

They contacted the Maryland State Police and fugitive investigators immediately began surveillance at several locations in and around the area where the bus might possibly stop, according to police.

The next day Smotherson was spotted getting off a bus at a welcome center on I-95 near Route 32 in Laurel, Maryland.

Smotherson was arrested without incident.

This is the third person arrested in the case since the shooting happened.

Smotherson will serve his time after he serves his current sentence for felony assault inflicting serious injury following a June 2014 attack on a detention center officer in the Rowan County jail.

Smotherson, along with Khari McClelland, who is a suspect in the murder of volunteer firefighter Marcus Kauffman, and Quentin Mathis, charged with attempted murder after police say he tried to shoot two people in a Mooresville Dragway restroom back in 2011. punched an officer, breaking his nose and causing a concussion.

Harper, 20, and Clark, 38, remain in the Rowan County Detention Center, each under no bond.