Two family members and an associate of fugitive Charles Smith, whose attempted apprehension in February ended in a shootout in which Deputy Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller was killed, have been charged in connection with helping him hide out from the feds.
A 14-count indictment that came down in West Virginia on Tuesday alleges that 49-year-old Sherry Lou Smith, 23-year-old Anthony Lambert and 25-year-old Cassandra Smith made false statements to law enforcement officers who were trying to apprehend Charles Smith. Smith was also killed in the shootout.
The feds say that the three West Virginia residents helped Smith avoid arrest from March 22, 2010 until Feb. 16, 2011. Smith was wanted in connection with charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and possession of a firearm by an unlawful drug user. Sherry was Smith’s wife, Cassandra is his daughter and Lambert was his daughter’s boyfriend.
According to the indictment, Sherry Lou Smith told a U.S. Marshal on the day of the shootout that Charles Smith had “just came back to town and he was going to turn himself in tomorrow,” even though he had stated that he would not go out alive or would never be taken alive.
After the shooting, Cassandra Smith allegedly told federal law enforcement officials that she did “not remember seeing any guns” in the residence where she lived with her father “other than the ones in [her] own room and, if anything, a gun that may have been on the pool table downstairs.”
But federal officials say she knew about a “brown long gun in a corner at the bottom of the steps, a long gun in a corner in the hallway between the kitchen door and the door to [Charles Smith’s] room; two (2) to three (3) pistols on the pool table in the room where [Charles Smith] slept; shotguns or long guns in the same room, possibly next to the door going into the hallway, next to [his] recliner; and (d) a black shotgun with a pistol handle.”
Hotsinpiller was at the time, the first deputy U.S. Marshal to die in the line of duty from gunfire since 1992, when William Degan was killed at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry was killed in a separate shootout in St. Louis last month. Following their deaths, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a law enforcement initiative aimed at combating violence against law enforcement officials and asked all U.S. attorneys around the country to meet with their local police to see whether the “worst of the worst” criminal offenders could be charged with any federal crimes that would carry stiffer prison sentences.