Houston man on parole for 1994 murder sentenced to 55 years for second murder

A man on parole for a decades-old murder was sentenced this week to 55 years in prison for another, the 2019 murder of his roommate, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday.

“This man, who got more than his fair share of second chances, took the lives of two innocent people and devastated two separate families,” Ogg said. “Families of murder victims can never be made whole, but at least they have the closure of seeing this killer sent back to prison for decades.”

Jaimel Demetrius Smith, 46, was convicted on Tuesday of killing his roommate, Taariq Muhammad, 39, on Feb. 3, 2019. It was Super Bowl Sunday and Muhammad had left the home to run errands with his friend and her 7-year-old niece. When they returned to the house in the 7900 block of Braeswood Boulevard and went in the front door, Smith opened fire, shooting Muhammad as he tried to flee. His friend and her niece ran down the street and called 911. After the shooting, Smith called a friend and said he had just killed someone.

Instead of asking for a jury trial, Smith requested a bench trial and was tried by visiting state District Judge Michael Wilkinson. After the judge found him guilty of killing Muhammad, prosecutors showed that Smith was convicted in 1995 of the shooting death of his mother’s live-in boyfriend a year earlier. Smith spent 22 years in prison for that slaying.

In the more recent shooting, Smith was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Guffy and Sarah Moss.

“Our victim opened up his home because the defendant was on hard times, and the defendant repaid him by killing him with the victim’s own gun in front of a 7-year-old child,” Guffy said. “It was really heartless, and he should not be out in the community.”

“He needed to be held responsible for what he put both of these families through,” Moss added.