Killer gets two life sentences for drug-related murders

Mitch Smith shot 2 people to death in a 2010 drug deal

Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 2:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 2:29 p.m.

The man accused of killing two people in a 2010 drug deal that went wrong was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mitch Conan “Crawdaddy” Smith, 33, of the Gainesville area, had been indicted for first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of a man and a woman found Nov. 4, 2010, along a seldom-used roadway. Smith later was shot by an Alachua County sheriff’s deputy while being arrested.

The victims — both 37-year-old Gainesville residents — were found along a deserted section of Southwest 85th Avenue.

Sharon Norman was found slumped over and dead in the driver’s seat, her seat belt still buckled and her foot on the brake pedal. Investigators recovered a bag of powder cocaine near the car. Anthony Hall was found lying in grass on the other side of the road from the car with $130 clutched in his hand.

Investigators said they connected Smith to the crime through cellphone records and statements from those close to Norman. They also said it appeared Smith owed Norman more than $300 related to drug deals.

Two days after the bodies were found, Smith was shot during a confrontation with members of the sheriff’s SWAT team when the team was preparing to arrest him. He was treated for his gunshot wounds — under armed guard — at Shands at the University of Florida and has been held since then at the Alachua County jail.

The deputy who shot Smith was an experienced SWAT team member and national sniper champion. Sgt. Josh Crews, 33, has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for the past decade and was cleared of any wrongdoing.

On Monday morning, Smith pleaded no contest to the two murder charges and to a charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He was sentenced to two life sentences for the murders and 15 years in prison for the assault charge.

Smith will continue to be held at the jail until he is transferred to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top