Keshone Smith argues self-defense in murder trial (2024)

It's now day two in the trial of Keshone Smith, a man accused of killing Pine Bluff detective Kevin Collins.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Tuesday marked day two of the State vs. Keshone Smith, a murder trial where he is accused of fatally shooting Pine Bluff Detective Kevin Collins on October 5, 2020.

Judge Alias Dennis opened arguments made by the prosecutors and the defense at the Jefferson County Courthouse in the 5th Division courtroom.

In their opening statement, the prosecutors, who are the State, informed the jury of Keshone Smith's previous history. Smith had a warrant for his arrest by Georgia police in early Summer 2020, which led to multiple law enforcement agencies looking to arrest him.

The prosecutors said Kevin Collins worked for the Pine Bluff Police Department's violent crime taskforce. On October 4, 2020, Kevin Collins conducted a traffic stop on Kirel Young, where he was allegedly found with marijuana and a firearm. The prosecutor said Young disclosed that he knew the defendant, Keshone Smith, and Kevin Collins said the charges could possibly be dropped if he were to cooperate with him.

According to prosecutors, Young became a confidential informant for the Pine Bluff Police Department and began communicating back and forth. Fast-forward to October 5, 2020, when it was discovered that Keshone Smith, "the suspect at the time," was staying at the Econo Lodge in Pine Bluff.

Prosecutors said that Kevin Collins reported it to his supervisor, who at the time was Lt. Ralph Isaac, and began to take immediate action. Kevin Collins also notified his partner, Kelce Collins, about attempting to apprehend Keshone Smith.

On October 5, 2020, Isaac, Kelce Collins and Kevin Collins began to approach the Econo Lodge, where Smith was supposedly staying. Kelce Collins and Kevin Collins were in a black unmarked Dodge Charger, and Isaac was in an unmarked maroon Dodge Charger. The suspect, Keshone Smith, was supposedly seen with a red Dodge Charger.

According to Isaac's witness testimony, while approaching the scene, Isaac said Kevin Collins informed him that he spotted Keshone Smith and saw three other Black men in the red Dodge Charger placing firearms in the vehicle.

Kevin Collins informed Isaac that they needed to move in. The prosecutors said that shots began to exchange back and forth between the law enforcement and the other four men. It was mentioned that Kelce Collins fired his gun 11 times at the scene.

The prosecutors moved forward and said how Kevin Collins was shot five times and that the bullet that killed him went through his arm and proceeded to go into his chest.

However, Defense Attorney Lee Smith said in his opening argument that Kevin Collins informed nobody about his contact with the confidential informant, Young, and that there's no documentation to prove it. Lee Smith also pointed out that Isaac, Kevin Collins and Kelce Collins were all at the scene in unmarked units with no dashcams, recording devices, or bodycams.

The defense argued that Keshone Smith was using self-defense in fear for his life. Lee Smith said that Kelce Collins was the first one to fire a shot, resulting in the defendant and others returning gunfire. The defense said Keshone Smith shot four times, while Kelce Collins shot 11 times, hinting that his bullets could have been the one to shoot Kevin Collins.

The defense also argued the point of his client not having a fair and thorough investigation conducted after the incidents occurred on October 5, 2020. Lee Smith brought up the fact that four Black men were arrested on October 5, 2020, and three out of the four, including his defendant, Keshone Smith, were shot.

Moving forward in the day, several witness testimonies went forward, and the majority of them were from law enforcement. The jury also heard a 911 call made by Isaac and photos of the crime scene.

Right now, Keshone Smith is facing three counts of first-degree battery and capital murder. This means that the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was premeditated and not self-defense.

Trial for the State Vs. Keshone Smith will continue on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

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Keshone Smith argues self-defense in murder trial (2024)
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