Witness: Hit man Smothers told me he killed drug dealer

The co-defendant of self-professed hit man Vincent Smothers testified Monday that Smothers told him he murdered an alleged drug dealer who another man was convicted of killing.

Thelonious Searcy, 38, was convicted in 2005 of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Jamal Segars as he sat in traffic near the Coleman A. Young Airport on the city’s east side Sept. 5, 2004.

Smothers had taken credit for Segars’ death and wrote three affidavits in 2015 and 2016 saying he, not Searcy, murdered Segars.

But Wayne County prosecutors are not buying Smothers’ claims and maintain Searcy is responsible for murdering Segars.

On Monday, Marzelle Black told Kenny that Smothers admitted to him that he killed Segars. He said the alleged admission came in 2009 during a casual conversation.

“(Smothers) said his motive was to free the innocent,” said Black.

Black was Smothers’ co-defendant in the Rose Cobb murder case. Rose Cobb was set up to be killed in December 2007 by her husband, Detroit Police Sgt. David Cobb.

The killing of Rose Cobb, which was allegedly made to look like a robbery while she sat in her car outside a Detroit drug store on East Jefferson and Dickerson, was set up by Black, who was the son of David Cobb’s girlfriend.

Black is serving a 15-year sentence for the murder of Rose Cobb. He admitted he never told police or authorities about what he said Smothers told him at the time.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Thomas Chambers questioned why Smothers would confide in Black about the Segars case when Black was the one who fingered Smothers in the Cobb murder.

Black said, “I stand to gain nothing” for testifying Monday about Smothers’ alleged confession to him.

Earlier, Michigan State Police Detective Christopher Carriveau testified that an affidavit from Smothers saying he was the one who killed Segars was not reliable because it “was not consistent” with the way Smothers speaks and the crime did not have Smothers’ mark on it.

“Mr. Smothers was very particular in planning(crimes),” Carriveau said under questioning from Chambers. “Mr. Smothers was known to stalk his victims.”

The detective said Smothers later said the affidavit was incorrect and that he didn’t murder Segars.

Carriveau said Smothers said “he was (taking responsibility for Segars’ murder) at the behest of Mr. Searcy” because there was concern for Searcy and his family’s safety. Carriveau said he never got a statement from Smothers recanting his earlier statements that he had killed Segars.

Also at Monday’s hearing, questions arose about whether it was a 9 mm bullet casing or a .40 caliber bullet retrieved from the crime scene or Segars’ body following the shooting. Searcy’s defense attorney, Michael Dezsi, said the bullets indicate there could have been a third potential gun – possibly belonging to a police officer – involved in the shooting.

Smothers testified last week that he and a drug dealer, Jeffery Daniels, approached Segars’ car. Smothers said he fired a .40-caliber handgun repeatedly at Segars, while Daniels was armed with “either a .40 or .45.” Smothers said an unmarked police car pulled up, and a shootout ensued.

Kenny has scheduled another hearing for 9 a.m. April 2 with both sides to schedule a re-examination and investigation into the ballistics evidence regarding the 9 mm casing and .40-cailber bullet allegedly taken from Segars’ body.

George Hunter contributed. bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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