FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Crime-courts

DA seeks death penalty for accused cop-killer

By From page A1 | February 16, 2013

FAIRFIELD — District Attorney Donald A. du Bain has decided to pursue the death penalty against the Fairfield man accused of killing a Vallejo police officer after a 2011 bank heist.

Henry A. Smith Jr., 39, allegedly shot veteran officer Jim Capoot after a car chase and brief foot chase that ended in the backyard of a Vallejo home, where Capoot was shot and killed. Smith was captured moments later by Vallejo police on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 2011.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen announced the decision Friday morning during Smith’s arraignment on murder and weapons charges. Jensen declined to comment after the arraignment, citing a previously issued gag order.

Judge Peter B. Foor ordered Smith to return to court May 10 when dates for a jury trial may be scheduled.

The last time the Solano County District Attorney’s Office pursued the death penalty in a murder case was for the April 2000 murder of another Vallejo police officer, Jeff Azuar. A trial ended with a jury not agreeing to impose the death penalty. Joseph R. Teitgen was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Foor and Smith’s pair of defense attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office have treated the case as a likely death-penalty case since Smith’s first court appearance.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
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