MORGANTOWN — It took the jury about an hour and 45 minutes to decide they believed Shaundarius Reeder was a murderer.
The jury convicted the 21-year-old on all of the charges against him: first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Reeder and Terrell Linear fatally shot 21-year-old West Virginia University student Eric J. Smith at College Park apartments on Feb. 28, 2020.
“I am very pleased with the verdict, like I said it’s been a year and some change, me and my wife, I’m assuming my son’s mother and step-father, they’re happy as well. I mean, it’s not bringing Eric back but we got justice for Eric, that’s number one. That’s the main thing,” Smith’s father, James Smith Jr. said.
Thursday, the third day of Reeder’s trial, started with the defense calling its first and only witness, Linear, 22. Linear, who took the stand wearing shackles and an orange prison uniform, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on June 1.
Linear said he and Reeder were both drinking and using Xanax that night. He said he let Reeder borrow a pink gun that he bought for his girlfriend before they left the house that night and he didn’t get it back.
Smith was hit with all seven bullets fired by Reeder and Linear. Forensic testing showed two of the bullets were fired by the black gun Linear was carrying and five, including the three removed from Smith’s body during the autopsy, were fired by the pink gun Reeder carried.
Reeder was seen on video carrying the pink gun in his waistband in downtown Morgantown prior to the shooting, at College Park when he and Linear were exiting the apartment building the first time, and had the gun on him at Walmart. In a video showing Reeder and Linear entering the apartment building a second time, he did not have the gun visible.
An altercation took place after the people watching the trial exited the courthouse at the end of the day between those supporting Reeder and people who came to watch Linear testify. One man took off his shirt, several people appeared to be chasing people in a vehicle and yelling was audible but not clear enough to be understood while inside the third floor of the justice center. It appears no arrests were made. At least eight police officers were on hand as extra security, prior to the verdict being delivered, and the people involved quickly dispersed.
First-degree murder carries a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Today, the jury will have to decide if Reeder will receive mercy, which would make him eligible for parole. Linear received mercy and the conspiracy charge against him was dropped as part of the plea agreement.
The defense has four witnesses to call while the prosecution will call five, Judge Susan Tucker said. The defense will present its case for mercy first, which is the opposite order of proceedings in the guilt phase of the trial.