Jamal Smith sentenced to life behind bars for murder of Jay Boughton

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The Chicago man found guilty in the deadly road rage shooting of a local baseball coach was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.

Jamal Smith received the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in the July 2021 killing of Jay Boughton. Smith will have a chance for parole after 30 years.

Four of Boughton’s family members spoke in court before Smith was sentenced, including Boughton’s mother, Nova, who said she doesn’t hate Smith despite his actions.

Full Coverage of Jamal Smith’s Case

“But with all my being, I do hate guns. Especially what Mr. Smith did with his gun,” she said. She added that she thinks about what happened to her son every day.

“He took my son from me but no one will ever, ever destroy my memories of Jay,” Nova said.

“Jay was so full of light and life, and his spirit of graciousness to everyone is his legacy,” his wife, Kristin, added.

To symbolize that light, Boughton’s loved ones wore yellow clothes to the courthouse on Tuesday, and so many showed up that staff members had to set up a second courtroom so all of them could watch the proceedings.

Boughton, a youth baseball coach, was shot on Highway 169 in Plymouth while driving his son home from a game. Smith opted to not come to the courtroom Tuesday and instead appeared from jail remotely.

Smith called the case against him “a witch hunt” and said he’s being held accountable for something he didn’t do. He previously moved for acquittal and a new trial but those requests were denied.

“In a world of seemingly ever-increasing acts of violence, this case represented an act of truly senseless violence; it just makes no sense,” Judge Nicole Engisch said, adding, “and my heart aches.”

“My hope is that through all of us, he will live on, through those acts of kindness toward others,” Kristin Boughton said.

“Jay is light, God is light, we will stay in the light, that light will not be overcome by darkness, today evil did not have the final word,” she added.

Plymouth Police Chief Erik Fadden also spoke after Smith’s sentencing and called the conviction a big win for his detectives, who he says never gave up working for Boughton’s family.

Jamal Smith and his defense counsel appeared over Zoom at the Oct. 4, 2022 sentencing hearing. (Pool photo)
Judge Nicole Engisch gave Smith a life sentence, which is the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Minnesota (Pool photo)