Owensboro teen accused of killing 16-year-old Demarion Black appears at bail hearing

Owensboro teen accused of killing 16-year-old Demarion Black appears at bail hearing
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:23 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - 17-year-old Peiyton Smith appeared in court Thursday afternoon for a bail hearing.

Circuit Court Judge Jay Wethington set Smith’s bail at $150,000 full cash.

Demarion Black’s side of the court room was filled with family and friends. Some individuals became emotional and left the court room while Peiyton Smith’s mother Melissa Smith was giving her testimony.

Melissa Smith testified her son would be constantly supervised by family members and a home security system if allowed out on bail.

“He will not be able to leave without setting off this alarm,” she said.

She also testified her son has had mental health issues since he was a toddler.

“He has ADHD, he’s on the autism spectrum, he has bipolar disorder and is schizoaffective.”

She said Smith has been hospitalized more than once for mental health reasons.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nick Payne argued Smith presents a flight risk if allowed to be at home.

“The other factor to consider is the safety of the community,” Payne said. “Juvenile gun crimes in this community -- the only way to make sure they’re not happening is if they use a gun or are alleged to, incarcerate them.”

Smith’s lawyer Evan Taylor argued the teen would be adequately watched by his mother and grandparents at his home.

“You have a dutiful loving mother to ensure his compliance with everything she possibly can,” he said Thursday.

Judge Jay Wethington said, ultimately, he had concerns about the teen’s supervision and history of mental illness.

“When this event allegedly occurred, he was not being adequately supervised for a 17-year-old,” said Hon. Wethington. “The added factor that’s disturbing and troubling to me is that Mr. Smith has a serious mental health illness.”

Taylor tells 14 News they are going to be arguing that Smith acted in self-defense.

Smith’s next court date has been set for December 5.