A Washington man has been sentenced to 100 years in prison for the killing of five-year-old Mya Patel in Shreveport, Louisiana. Joseph Lee Smith was convicted in January for the crime, which took place in 2021. Local media outlets, including KSLA News 12 and the Shreveport Times, have reported on the details of the case.
According to court testimony, Smith got into an altercation with another man in the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel, which was owned and operated by Vimal and Snehal Patel at the time. The Patels lived in a ground-floor unit with their two children, Mya and a younger sibling. During the fight, Smith struck the other man with a 9-mm handgun, which discharged. The bullet missed the intended target but went into the hotel room and struck Mya in the head, grazing her mother.
Mya was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she battled for three days before succumbing to her injuries on March 23, 2021. Smith was subsequently arrested and charged with the killing.
During Smith’s trial, the jury was presented with evidence showing that he had intentionally fired the gun, knowing that it could harm others. The jury ultimately found Smith guilty of the killing, as well as obstruction of justice and aggravated battery.
District Judge John D Mosely presided over the sentencing hearing, which took place on Thursday, March 23, 2023. Judge Mosely sentenced Smith to 60 years of hard labor without probation, parole, or reduction of sentence for the killing of Mya Patel. In addition, Smith was ordered to serve 20 years each for obstruction of justice and aggravated battery, for separate convictions related to the case.
The sentence was met with mixed reactions from the community. Some praised the judge for his tough stance on crime, while others expressed concern that such a lengthy sentence may be excessive. Mya’s family members issued a statement thanking the court for holding Smith accountable for her death.
The tragic killing of Mya Patel has brought attention to the ongoing problem of gun violence in the United States, particularly in urban areas. While efforts to curb gun violence have been ongoing for years, the issue remains a contentious one, with advocates on both sides of the debate.
As the case of Joseph Lee Smith comes to a close, many are left wondering what can be done to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. While there are no easy answers, it is clear that there is a pressing need for increased efforts to address gun violence and keep communities safe.
*PIO:-Person of Indian Origin (PIO) refers to a foreign citizen who held an Indian Passport at any point in time or whose parents/grandparents/great grandparents were citizens of India.