Española man gets 2 years, 3 months in gun death - Albuquerque Journal

Española man gets 2 years, 3 months in gun death

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

An Española man was sentenced this month to more than two years in federal prison for fatally shooting a woman who was trespassing on the property of a shuttered motel he owned.

Douglas Smith, 71, was convicted in June 2021 of involuntary manslaughter in the 2018 shooting that left a Santa Clara Pueblo woman dead. Smith was sentenced Nov. 10 to two years and three months in prison. He will be on supervised release for two years afterward.

Aric Elsenheimer, Smith’s attorney, declined to comment.

On May 5, 2018, the Española Police Department responded around 1:17 a.m. to the Western Winds Motel and found a woman fatally shot, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Smith told police he shot the woman – identified in records by the initials M.G. – after he believed she was breaking into his deceased mother’s trailer on the property.

Authorities said Smith told police he had trouble with burglaries on the property – as well as raccoons – and had motion sensors set up. He said the sensor alarm went off and he went outside with his pistol.

Smith told police he saw a person hiding in the bushes near his mother’s camper and began shooting “in the same general direction to scare off the person,” according to the complaint. Smith told federal agents he had shot at trespassers before and was not trying to shoot the woman and aimed to the left of her.

Police found no weapons or burglary tools near the woman, who had been shot in the head, according to the complaint.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the incident occurred on the Pueblo of Santa Clara.

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