A 32-year-old Tacoma man was found not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday in the death of a man shot to death on the Hilltop three years ago.
Anthony Lamar Smith now will be committed indefinitely to Western State Hospital for treatment. Smith could win release one day, but that seems unlikely given the severity of his mental illness and the crime he was accused of, lawyers on both sides said.
"Given the nature of the charge, he could be there for the rest of his life," defense attorney Zenon Olbertz said.
Pierce County prosecutors charged Smith in April 2010 with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm after he opened fire on two men in the 1900 block of South M Street.
Robert Jackson Jr., 28, was hit in the head and died. The other victim, a teenager, escaped injury.
Police said Smith and the teenager had argued prior to the shooting and that Smith went home, got a gun and returned to confront the boy.
Jackson tried to play peacemaker and got shot for his trouble. Relatives said he had just moved to Tacoma a few weeks before his death, loved music and tried to befriend almost everyone he met.
Police said Jackson did not know Smith.
Olbertz said Thursday his client has schizophrenia and was hearing voices that day telling him he was in danger.
"He's been sick for a long time," the attorney said. "He's still hearing voices to this day."
Both a defense expert hired to examine Smith and a state psychologist agreed Smith is mentally ill and a danger to himself and others, deputy prosecutor Patrick Cooper said. He has been in and out of Western State Hospital since his arrest.
"I think Western State Hospital is the best place for him to stay," Cooper said.