Man is convicted of killing college student at apartment

It took a Clay County jury 45 minutes Wednesday to return a guilty verdict against a man accused of killing a 19-year-old college student.

Jurors found Marcus D. Smith, 31, of Kansas City, North, guilty of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action in the Aug. 16, 2011, slaying of Samir Clark.

Smith’s sentencing is set for April 12.

Police had described Clark as an innocent bystander in a shooting at an apartment in the 6400 block of Northeast 43rd Street.

When charged in this case, Smith was on parole for a Wyandotte County involuntary manslaughter conviction.

During closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors said Smith got into an altercation with several people the night of the shooting. At one point, Smith, who was armed with a handgun, yelled, “I’m gonna kill you and I’m gonna to kill your kids,” said assistant prosecutor Kate E. Noland.

Public defender Cathy Noble questioned the investigation and credibility of the prosecution witnesses.

According to court records, Clark was visiting a relative and playing a video game with his cousin, Voncell Brownlee, that evening when a neighbor banged on the door, pleading for help. They let in the neighbor and her children.

Clark and Brownlee hurried the children to the back of the apartment and told them to crawl into the tub. Smith then fired several shots into the apartment through an open door. A bullet struck Clark in the neck, killing him.

Clark was to leave for Tennessee State University in Nashville later that week, relatives said at the time.

He was a 2010 graduate of University Academy and an Eagle Scout, and he planned to study physical therapy.