HONOLULU — A former Delaware death-row inmate who brought an 18-year-old Delaware man to Hawaii to get a fresh start says the teen has been falsely accused of a deadly shooting because he’s black.
Isaiah McCoy said Jordan Smith is not the triggerman police say fired about 10 rounds from an assault rifle at a group of people standing outside a Waikiki club on Saturday.
“Purposely pinpointing black people, that’s what they’re doing,” McCoy told Honolulu news station Hawaii News Now.
The shooting killed 23-year-old Maleko Remlinger of Kaneohe and injured two other men. Smith is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.
Smith pleaded not guilty Wednesday, according to online court records. He was being held on $1 million bail.
McCoy was convicted in Delaware of a drug-related killing and sentenced to death in 2012. A judge in January cited errors in the trial and declared McCoy not guilty.
McCoy moved to Hawaii after his release and said he’s an activist for black men falsely accused of crimes. McCoy said he brought Smith to the islands earlier this month.
“He’s just a new face, so it’s easy for him to be a scapegoat,” said McCoy. “I will not allow what happened to me, to happen to him.”
McCoy said private investigators are flying from the mainland to help with Smith’s case and he’s also talked to the attorneys who got him off death row.
McCoy didn’t immediately return a message The Associated Press left at a cell phone number for him Thursday.
Days after arriving in Hawaii, Smith was arrested by Honolulu police on suspicion of assaulting an Uber driver. McCoy said Smith apologized to him and promised he’d do better.
According to court records in Delaware, Smith was released from custody earlier this month after posting $15,000 bail following his arrest in July on charges of robbery, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, terroristic threatening and other offenses. Court records also show that he is scheduled for trial Oct. 10 on charges in two unrelated cases involving alleged threats made in March against a correctional officer in a juvenile facility, and Smith’s arrest in June on charges of theft, conspiracy and criminal trespass.
A message The Associated Press left with the public defender’s office in Dover, Delaware, on Thursday wasn’t immediately returned.