Leon Tyler Smith Pleads Guilty to First Degree Murder

According to Lee County Commonwealth Attorney H. Fuller Cridlin’s latest Press Release, Leon Tyler Smith, age 25, pled guilty to First Degree Murder in Circuit Court before Judge Tammy McElyea in the death of Lee David Lipps.
In the original criminal complaint filed by Virginia State Police Special Agent AW Boyd, Lipps stated before dying that a black man had shot him while he was in his backyard at his residence. Agent Boyd reported that a surveillance system at Lipp’s residence captured video of a gold Toyota Sedan driving nearby. Additionally two witnesses in the neighborhood told officials that they had seen a black man wearing a black and gold shirt near the victim’s home.
Norton police later found a Toyota Sedan matching the one shown in the video and arrested Smith as he approached the vehicle. In a warrant search of Smith’s residence, investigators found a shirt that matched the witnesses’ description along with a .380 caliber ammunition shells that matched shells found at the scene of the crime.
Testimony from witnesses placed a black man near Lipps’ residence between 7:25 and 7:29 pm. Agent Boyd’s report stated that surveillance video from the Jonesville Walmart placed Smith about five miles from Lipps’ home at 7:13pm that day. Lipps called 911 at 7:28pm, while his home surveillance system captured video of the gold Toyota Sedan driving and parking in an adjacent lot at 7:24pm.
Cridlin stated that the First Degree charge carries a maximum life sentence in prison, while state sentencing guidelines can for a range of 20-40 years sentence. Cridlin added that, “Those are the guidelines but the judge can choose a longer sentence. We will be asking for the maximum.”
There is a two day sentencing hearing set for September 18th & 19th in the Jonesville Circuit Court.

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