Friday, December 8, 2023

Man Sentenced, Woman Pleads Guilty in ‘Terrifying’ Abduction Case

Jameka Smith and Derrick Smith (Courtesy of Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
Jameka Smith and Derrick Smith (Courtesy of Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

The case against one man accused of abducting two people and forcing them to withdraw cash from a Wawa ATM ended with an 80-year sentence.

Derrick Smith, 35, will serve 16 years of the sentence handed down by Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Judge Michael McGinty on Jan. 21.

Smith had previously pleaded guilty to felony charges of robbery and abduction with intent to extort money; he received a 40-year sentence for both charges, with 30 years suspended on the robbery charge and 34 years suspended on the abduction charge. He will be on supervised probation upon his release.

On the same day, Jameka Smith, 34, who is also accused in the Aug. 2 incident, pleaded guilty to a felony robbery charge. Her sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 21.

A third suspect, 31-year-old Tajaddin Daily, had his trial scheduled for last week, but his attorney had to reschedule for personal reasons. A new hearing date has not yet been scheduled. He faces three robbery charges, two abduction charges and four use of a firearm in commission of a felony charges – all felonies.

Derrick Smith, Jameka Smith and Daily were arrested soon after a man and his girlfriend reported they had been taken from their Merrimac Trail apartment in the City of Williamsburg and forced to withdraw cash from the Wawa ATM down the street.

Police said the three suspects offered the male, who they met at a club in Hampton, a ride back to his Williamsburg apartment. When they arrived, they began to demand money from the man and Derrick Smith and Daily escorted the man into the apartment.

The man’s girlfriend was inside the apartment, where Daily and Derrick Smith demanded more money from both of them, Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green said.

The man and woman were then back into the car and driven to the Wawa, police said. Jameka Smith escorted the woman to the ATM under the threat of a firearm, though a gun was not shown.

After the woman was unable to withdraw money, there was a struggle in which the man was able to escape his captors while the woman was forced back into the car.

Though Derrick Smith, who was injured in a drive-by shooting in the late ’90s and is now wheelchair-bound, was not the muscle behind the incident, he was “leading and directing on how to commit the crimes,” Green said.

During last week’s sentencing, Derrick Smith’s mother testified her son endured a rough childhood – she struggled with drugs and his father was absent – and did not come out of it unscathed.

Smith, who said he does not remember much of the incident because he was too inebriated, followed her testimony with a tearful apology for his actions and a plea to the judge for leniency to allow him to receive substance abuse counseling so that he can “go back to society with more to give than I received.”

McGinty said Smith’s excuse that he was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana would be a small comfort to the victims.

“This was a terrifying event for the two individuals involved,” McGinty said. “… It wasn’t a moment, it was a series of events in which they were ordered to do things at gunpoint.”

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