Skip to content
Actual Property Transfers | Mt. Ethereal Information

Actual Property Transfers | Mt. Ethereal Information

The day of Nov. 4, 2021 started like some other for the Smitherman household of Yadkin County, nevertheless it led to a nightmare with the lack of a beloved daughter and sister. Norah Rayne Smitherman, the 17-year outdated daughter of Rodney and Jennifer Smitherman and sister to Miah and Annah, was killed that evening round 8 p.m. when a gun was pointed at her brow whereas she was visiting a buddy.

Jennifer Smitherman noticed her daughter a number of hours earlier than her dying, Norah was at dwelling beginning some laundry. Jennifer recalled hugging Norah and telling her she cherished her. Norah informed her mother she can be dwelling by 9:30 that evening as she wished to straighten her naturally curly hair in preparation for cap and robe footage the following day in school. She would by no means make it to have these images taken.

Norah was a senior at Forbush Excessive College. An honor scholar, member of Well being Occupation College students of America (HOSA), and a scholar athlete on each the softball and volleyball groups, Norah was known as by faculty leaders “a buddy to so many, a beautiful one who was form to all she met.”

Not solely was Norah actively concerned in each instructional and extra-curricular faculty actions, she was additionally an energetic volunteer at her church the place she labored with youthful youngsters within the youth group.

Selfless, humble and sort are only a few of the phrases Jennifer makes use of to explain her daughter Norah.

“She befriended all people,” she mentioned.

Jennifer mentioned that Norah was recognized to hunt out the lonely, the bullied, the friendless, and grow to be their buddy. On the evening of her dying, Norah was going to the house of Jace Allen, an in depth buddy whom she known as her finest buddy. She was going to assist him clear his room earlier than a celebration that was to be held there the following evening following the soccer recreation.

Norah informed twin sister Annah, “if I don’t go he gained’t have anybody else.”

Annah was half of a bigger buddy group together with her sister and Allen, however had begun distancing herself from Allen for causes that will not be revealed till after her sister’s dying.

On the night of Nov. 4, 2021, Norah arrived at Allen’s dwelling on Gospel Approach Church Highway in Yadkinville. Allen and one other buddy Ayden Gardner have been there. Gardner jumped out to scare Norah as she acquired out of her car and Allen was hiding behind a tree, additionally in an try to scare her. The buddies laughed it off as they entered the house. Simply moments later, Allen picked up a Excessive Normal Durango .22 caliber revolver. In Allen’s personal phrases throughout testimony in court docket he mentioned he was “enjoying round” when he raised the weapon and “like in an outdated western” film pulled the hammer again. Allen mentioned on the stand that he didn’t bear in mind pulling the set off, however the subsequent factor he noticed was the flash from the gun and heard his personal ears ringing from the shot. He mentioned in court docket that he believed the weapon was not loaded.

Instantly, Norah Rayne Smitherman was lifeless. Forensic Pathologist Dr. William Thomas Harrison mentioned in court docket that the wound observe was in step with a straight entrance to again trajectory with no exit wound.

Jennifer mentioned her thoughts typically goes to darkish locations when she imagines the second of her daughter’s dying, however there may be one thought that brings her consolation and that was Norah’s sturdy Christian religion.

“There’s little doubt in my thoughts that in the intervening time of her final breath she was within the arms of Jesus and that provides me consolation,” she mentioned.

That evening, Allen informed authorities that the taking pictures had been an accident, that the gun had fallen and discharged. Allen and his mom Leslie met with the Smitherman household within the days following Norah’s dying and informed the identical story, that it had been a tragic accident.

Jennifer mentioned she believed the story, till a number of days after Norah’s dying when she spoke with somebody on the funeral dwelling they usually informed her the situation of the entry wound. Although not having any expertise with forensic science of any form, Jennifer knew instantly that the situation of the gunshot wound didn’t match up with the story of the firearm falling and unintentionally discharging.

“I knew then that the story Jace had informed was a complete lie,” Jennifer mentioned.

Authorities didn’t imagine it both and 5 days after Norah’s dying 17-year outdated Jace Allen was arrested and charged with second diploma homicide.

Allen’s trial started March 13, the place it was relocated to Ashe County to make sure an unbiased jury. Allen was discovered responsible of the lesser cost of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to twenty to 33 months, to incorporate time already served.

Allen was in a position to hug his household previous to being lead from the court docket room by sheriff’s deputies, an opportunity that Norah’s household won’t ever have once more.

Whereas the trial has ended, the battle for justice is much from over for Jennifer and her household.

“I’m only a grieving mom who is aware of that her youngster didn’t get justice,” Jennifer mentioned. “She acquired a responsible verdict, he’s in jail, however the time doesn’t match this crime,” she mentioned

Although Allen had no earlier fees, tales started to emerge following Norah’s dying about dangerous habits involving weapons. Annah was one among a number of different teenagers whom Allen allegedly threatened with weapons.

Jennifer mentioned it was her opinion that Allen “thrived on seeing how far he might push it.”

In an announcement to the State Bureau of Investigation following her sister’s dying Annah described a number of incidents the place Allen allegedly threatened her with a knife and a shotgun.

“It was very exhausting for me to listen to Annah’s testimony that she gave to the SBI,” Jennifer mentioned. “I assumed I used to be going to throw up.”

“He did level a shotgun to her abdomen and pull the set off and snigger about it and say, ‘see, I informed you it wasn’t loaded’ and he additionally put a knife to her throat,” Jennifer mentioned Annah defined to the SBI.

These prior incidents weren’t thought of admissible in court docket because of Rule 404(b) which states partially, “Proof of different crimes, wrongs, or acts is just not admissible to show the character of an individual as a way to present that he acted in conformity therewith.”

District Lawyer Matthew Leach, who lead the prosecution’s case in opposition to Allen, mentioned that they did try to put one witness on the stand who testified about incidents the place Allen allegedly pointed a revolver at him, however after cross examination by the protection and the decide reviewing some case regulation, that testimony was not allowed to be heard by the jury.

Jennifer believes that Allen would have been discovered responsible of the cost of second diploma homicide and sentenced to extra time in jail if the testimony of the opposite teenagers had been allowed.

“With out the patterns of his earlier habits, we actually couldn’t set up the recklessness and simply the extremely disregard of human life. He didn’t worth it. He performed with it. He toyed with it. And finally he killed one,” she mentioned.

“It was solely a matter of time earlier than his recklessness caught up with him and whether or not it was intentional or not, he nonetheless dedicated the crime and he admitted so on the stand,” Jennifer added.

The protection’s case at trial targeted largely on the shut relationship between Allen and Norah and that he couldn’t be responsible of second diploma homicide as there was no “intent with malice.”

For Jennifer Smitherman, she is aware of that is the conclusion of the matter in her daughter’s dying, however she desires to now battle for justice for others who may be in related circumstances. She has already reached out to state legislators to share her story and see what avenues may be accessible to present victims extra voice in instances resembling this.

“I need them to know, this will’t occur once more. No different mom can undergo this,” she mentioned.

Modifications to Rule 404(b) is what Jennifer hopes to make a actuality by way of new laws. She mentioned she didn’t imagine 404(b) was a “unhealthy regulation” however that adjustments needs to be made to make sure justice for victims.

“If that is how 404(b) is utilized in a court docket of regulation, it’s biased,” Jennifer added. “It’s all the time going to assist the defendant. The place’s the sufferer’s voice?”

Simply three days after the conclusion of the trial, Jennifer was on the cellphone to State Senator Eddie Settle in Raleigh.

Settle mentioned in later feedback that he didn’t know the specifics of the authorized case, however was eager to do something he might to assist the household.

“It’s coronary heart wrenching.” he mentioned. “I can’t think about what Mrs. Smitherman goes by way of.”

“Mrs. Smitherman and her husband each are going to return to Raleigh and we’re going to fulfill and we’ll go from there,” he mentioned. “We do have compassion for that household. If there’s a invoice or one thing we are able to do, if there’s been an injustice, I have no idea that, but when there was an injustice, we wish to see if we will help alleviate one of the best we are able to.”

Jennifer mentioned she feels she is continuous her daughter’s legacy by pursuing this battle.

“She would need me to go on. I can hear her saying, ‘heck yeah, Mother, do it,’” she mentioned.

The battle for a voice for victims of violence is simply one of many methods Jennifer is continuous her daughter’s legacy of service to others. Simply days after her daughter’s dying, she created a charitable basis known as Reside Like Norah. Funds from the muse go to profit quite a few native teams and organizations together with faculty scholarships, Crimson Cross Blood drives and extra.

Along with donations, there’s a Reside Like Norah store, situated at 604 Tennessee St. in Yadkinville, which options shirts, books, Bibles and different items with a Christian-based theme, and plenty of issues in Norah’s favourite shade of purple. Proceeds from the store go on to the muse.

Jennifer mentioned the store has bought quite a few Bibles recently, together with to some households who mentioned it was their first Bible.

“Norah would love that,” she mentioned. “If she heard that it was their first Bible she wouldn’t even cost them, and he or she would pray for them. She can be so excited that they’re wanting to review the phrase and study what it means to stroll in religion.”

Jennifer and her household will proceed their journey of religion to see that their daughter is rarely forgotten and that her legacy will reside on in the neighborhood and much past.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *