MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The mercy phase of the Shaudarius Reeder first degree murder trial begins Friday morning at 9 a.m.
Reeder, along with Terrell Liner, killed Eric Smith, 21, of New Jersey at the College Park Apartments in Morgantown in February 2020. Last week, Linear pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will be sentenced to life in prison and in exchange, prosecutors dropped a conspiracy charge and Linear will be eligible for parole.
The mercy phase begins at 9 a.m. and a total of 11 witnesses will be called.
Eric’s father, James was just one of the Smith friends to attend and he told WAJR News the verdict was welcome but somewhat hollow.
“It’s not brining Eric back, but we got justice for Eric and that’s number one- the main thing,” Smith said.
Eric Smith was murdered about three weeks after his 21st birthday, his father said they had plans that were never carried out to celebrate.
“My son just turned 21 February 1st, so 27 days later my son is killed,” Smith said,” The last text I got from my son is “dad I’ll be home soon” because I was going to take him out for his birthday.
According to Smith, his attention now turns to his daughter who is now preparing to attend college.
“Soon to be 18-year-old daughter that will be attending Temple in the Fall,” Smith said,” I just hoping she gets through because she’s all I have left.”
For more than a year the Smith family has been waiting, participating and doing their best to stay patient. But, Smith said he and his family have had vital support along the way.
“It’s been a tough year, but we’ve managed to get through it with family and friends,” Smith,” I’m just overwhelmed with the verdict, I’m happy with the outcome.”
Smith doesn’t others to go through that year of loss and uncertainty. As crime appears to increase, Smith urges calm and wants people to think before they act.
“I just wish these young kids would learn to stop thinking that after a fight it has to go to the next level of killing each other,” Smith said,” It’s got to stop.”