Sen. Virgil Smith to resign after shooting at ex-wife

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
Michigan State Senator Virgil Smith

State Sen. Virgil Smith would resign his Legislative seat as part of a plea deal reached after he was charged with assaulting his ex-wife and shooting at her car.

The agreement was announced Thursday by his attorney, Godfrey Dillard, during the final hearing in the case before it was scheduled to go to trial March 7.

The deal includes Smith pleading guilty to malicious destruction of property greater than $20,000. Felonious assault, felony firearm and domestic violence charges were dropped.

He would be sentenced to 10 months in the county jail with no early release if the deal is accepted by Wayne County Judge Lawrence Talon, who said he would announce his decision at Smith’s sentencing at 2 p.m. March 14. The malicious destruction of property charge, a felony, carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Smith would also be on probation for five years, would have to undergo drug and alcohol counseling, can’t hold elective office or be appointed to an office while on probation, submit to a mental health evaluation and surrender the gun as part of the plea agreement.

“I have my official resignation,” Smith said before he was advised by Dillard not to continue speaking.

Talon asked Dillard and Smith’s co-counsel, Gerald Evelyn, and Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey for an official memorandum which allegedly contains “confidential” information ahead of the sentencing. Lindsey told Talon there also is a medical report about Smith in the report which Talon says he wants by March 1.

“I still need to be persuaded,” Talon said.

Dillard said anyone who thinks Smith’s plea agreement is a light one is mistaken.

“This public servant, given the totality of the fact, is being severely punished,” Dillard said during the hearing. He said his client has some “alcohol dependency” and Smith’s judgment was “not up to snuff” the morning when the incident with his ex-wife occurred.

Smith’s father, presiding Wayne County Juvenile Court Judge Virgil C. Smith, sat not far from his son in the courtroom Thursday listening to the proceedings. Also in the courtroom was Virgil Smith’s ex-wife, Anistia Thomas. She did not speak during the hearing.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement after the hearing that it’s rare for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss a felony firearm charge. “In this case, however, after extensive review of the medical and psychiatric records of the defendant, I am convinced that there are extenuating circumstances to support dismissal of that charge,” she said.

She said Smith suffers from bipolar depression and is hypomanic; has a neurocognitive disorder related to a traumatic brain injury suffered in an automobile accident in December 2014 in Houston; and is being treated for alcohol dependency.

Smith, 36, was charged with beating Thomas in May during an early morning fight when she arrived at his east side home and found a naked woman in his bed. After allegedly tussling with Thomas inside the house and on the porch, Smith is said to have pointed an AR-15 at her and then fired rounds at her Mercedes-Benz.

According to Lindsey, more than 20 rounds were fired into Thomas’ vehicle during the incident at his home in the 18000 block of Wexford.

As part of the sentencing agreement, Smith has agreed to surrender the gun to authorities.

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