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Second Smith trial continues

The defendant Victor David Smith (right) shown here during the first trial in June.
The defendant Victor David Smith (right), shown here during the first trial in June. (KEIZERTIMES/File photo)

Of the Keizertimes

SALEM – The second murder trial against Victor David Smith is continuing.

Smith has been accused of murdering Keizer’s Phillip Johnson outside his apartment on the night of July 1, 2004. The case against Smith ended with a mistrial back in June.

The second trial began with jury selections on Wednesday and opening statements for both sides on Thursday, Sept. 11. As of Friday’s lunch break, the prosecution has brought 10 witnesses to the stand. Defense witnesses will be called next week.

Like they did in June, prosecutors contend Smith was upset about Johnson seeing his live-in girlfriend Imani Williams and decided to take care of his problem by murdering Johnson. David Wilson gave opening statements for the prosecution and has been splitting questioning with Paige Clarkson.

Smith’s attorney, Olcott Thompson, emphasized during his opening statements other people had issues with Johnson at the time of the murder and predicted the state would not be able to prove Smith was the killer.

Among the witnesses for the prosecution was Johnson’s live-in girlfriend at the time, pregnant with their daughter, born six months after her dad was murdered.

“No one should have to go through this,” the girlfriend said. “I want justice served. I want my daughter to know the coward who did this will rot in jail. She’s 9 years old and will never meet her dad. Why? Because of someone’s stupid choice.”

The trial is expected to conclude next week.