Hung Jury in Murder Trial for Former UM Athlete

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – The murder trial of a former University of Montana football player ended with a hung jury Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, but prosecutors quickly refiled homicide charges.

Former cornerback Jimmy Wilson, 22, is accused of fatally shooting his aunt’s boyfriend, 29-year-old Kevin Smoot, of Lancaster, Calif. The June 2, 2007 incident occurred during a confrontation at the home of Wilson’s aunt, according to court documents.

Wilson surrendered to California authorities and was suspended from the Montana football team a few days later.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict after a week of deliberations, returning to the courtroom around noon and voting 11-1 in favor of Wilson’s innocence.

Defense attorney Jerome Bradford, who claimed Wilson was acting in self defense, said he was disappointed with the outcome.

“There was one holdout, which is a shame,” he said.

Assistant Los Angeles District Attorney Kelly Cromer said she would retry Wilson on the same charges within 60 days. A pretrial conference has already been set for Dec. 11.

Wilson, who remains in custody in Los Angeles County on $2 million bail, was an All-America candidate and second-team Big Sky Conference defensive back for the Grizzlies in 2006, starting all 14 games. He would have been a senior in the fall of 2007.