Columbus defense attorney weighs in on pastor’s suicide

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 10:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - “Total shock,” says Defense Attorney Shevon Thomas, II.

Those were the words attorney Shevon Thomas II used when he saw his client dead outside his office. He walked me through the moments before 51-year-old Christopher Smith shot and killed himself.

“Outside of funerals, I’ve never seen a dead body before. My first thought was shock. I was yelling at him to get up, telling him to get up. My mind was racing a million miles a minute,” says Thomas.

After a call to 911, the area outside his office became a crime scene, leaving the young attorney trying to figure out ways to cope with the incident.

“I cope by saying I did my job, I did the best that I could, and I fought for my client, I was fighting for my client,” says Thomas.

Smith, a pastor, faced life in prison if convicted of child molestation and raping two underaged girls back in 2008.

Thomas says the case was on what was supposed to be a five-minute recess. Smith asked to use the restroom after the judge denied their motion for a mistrial. Smith didn’t return to the courtroom.

“Everybody came back to court except for Chris, so I asked the judge if I could have a few minutes to see if I could locate him downstairs. We all started walking down the driveway, and that’s where we saw Mr. Smith,” says Thomas.

Smith was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “I am just going to continue to pray. This is only the second trial that I have had, and for it to end this way, I just couldn’t see it coming,” says Thomas.