Saturday, March 5, 2022

The Murder of Curtisia 'Courtney' Smith


Curtisia 'Courtney' Smith was shot numerous times at point-blank range in Boynton Beach, Florida on April 5th, 2017. The 26-year-old died from her injuries 12 days later. There were numerous witnesses to Courtney's murder, but her killer still walks free today.

Courtney dealt with harassments, threats, and violence during the time leading up to her death.  Just months before, she filed a restraining order against a woman who had reportedly sent her death threats. The court documents also state that Courtney was attacked by the woman's family. Police have not revealed if the woman or any other individuals listed in the restraining order were involved in her death. According to locals, said woman has since died. 

On the day she was killed, Courtney met up with a group of people at Boynton Beach's Z Food and Meat Market on North Seacrest Boulevard. Courtney was waiting outside for pizza that she had ordered when a man with a covered face approached her and shot her several times in the legs, neck, and chest. As this was happening, a man named Jervaughn Ewell broke into Courtney's house and stole thousands of dollars' worth of items. It appears that Courtney was lured out of her house to the market so her house could be broken into while she was not home.

The market's surveillance cameras captured Courtney's murder.  The footage showed the shooter talking with a man, later identified as Roderick Taylor, just a few minutes before the shooting. The camera captured Taylor and the shooter fleeing the scene shortly afterward. Police arrested Taylor once they were able to positively identify him as one of the men in the footage. He was charged with second degree murder and possession of a firearm as a felon. 

After Taylor was arrested, it seemed that Courtney's loved ones were on the path to getting justice for Courtney. Unfortunately, this would end up being far from the truth. 

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Three days after Roderick Taylor's arrest, a 30-year-old man was arrested on first-degree murder charges in connection with Courtney's case. Three separate witnesses had reportedly told police that this man was the person who shot Courtney. However, less than 12 hours after his arrest, the charges were dropped. Police stated that they found evidence that ruled this man out as the shooter. 

Although those charges were dropped, Taylor's second-degree murder charges remained--until 2020, when he accepted a plea deal. Taylor ultimately pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in relation to Courtney's case, and he also pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence in relation to a different case. 

Roderick Taylor in court alongside his lawyer. (source:palmbeachpost.com)

As part of this plea deal, Taylor also agreed to testify against any others potentially involved in Courtney's murder. Since he accepted the plea deal, the second-degree murder charges were dropped. Taylor received credit for the days he had already spent behind bars, so he was released just days after the plea deal was accepted. He was subsequently sentenced to five years' probation.

Although Taylor agreed to testify against any others who might get charged in Courtney's case, it appears that Taylor has not offered any valuable information about these potential others. Either that, or police simply do not have enough evidence to arrest any potential others. To date, the only other person who has been arrested in the case was the man whose charges were dropped less than a day later.

Courtney's loved ones are still hoping to one day receive justice. Courtney's mother Jacqualine Smith is quoted in a 2021 article, saying that "so many people know what happened", but nobody is speaking up. Jacqualine also agrees that Courtney was likely set up. She stated that before the murder, Courtney's "so-called friends asked to hang out with them over and over." When Courtney finally did agree to meet up with them, she was killed.

Over $25,000 has been raised as reward money for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of Courtney's killer. Courtney's loved ones hope that this money will be an incentive for someone to come forward. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please go here to submit a tip.

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