Seymour defendant found not guilty in Jennings murder trial


Tribune staff reports


A Seymour resident was found not guilty of murder after a week-long trial at the Jennings County Courthouse.

It took a 12-member Jennings Circuit Court jury four hours Friday to acquit Jovonnie Antonio Mayes, accused of killing 52-year-old Richard Smith, Dupont.

Mayes also was acquitted on a charge of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, but the jury convicted him of two counts of auto theft as Level 6 felonies, court officials said.

Mayes could be sentenced to between one to five years in prison, as well as ordered to pay up to $20,000 in fines. Judge Jonathan Webster has scheduled the sentencing hearing for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 19.

The body of the 52-year-old Smith was found by police in a trash container outside the former Hatton’s Carpet and Flooring building near Fifth Street and Amvet Drive in North Vernon on Oct. 17, 2014.

Jennings County prosecutors argued that Mayes and a companion, Jody M. Brooks, 24, North Vernon, beat Smith to death in a robbery, went through his wallet, and took some of his clothing before stealing two vehicles in an attempt to escape.

Brooks was convicted in Jennings Circuit Court of murder and auto theft in January and was sentenced to 62 years in prison, court records state.

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