Columbus pastor commits suicide during rape trial recess

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Columbus pastor on trial for several charges committed suicide during a recess.

According to the Muscogee County coroner, 51-year-old Christopher Daron Smith was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. on Oct. 19 from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Smith’s defense attorney, Shevon Thomas, II, says the judge gave a five-minute recess during the trial before the last witness was to be heard. At the time of the break, the attorney says Smtih killed himself behind Thomas’s office.

In 2019, the former pastor of Word of Truth Outreach Ministries in Columbus was arrested for child molestation after a police standoff.

Smith was charged with two counts of aggravated child molestation, child molestation, sodomy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The trial began earlier this week following the defendant entering a plea of not guilty when he appeared in court in April 2019.