MINNEAPOLIS — The Boughton family’s yearlong wait for justice is over, even if it required an additional 16 hours for jury deliberations.
“This family has stayed in the light,” a tearful Kristin Boughton, the widow of Jay Boughton, said after a jury delivered a verdict convicting Jamal Smith of Boughton’s murder. “That has been our guiding force and factor. We’ve stayed out of anger and we’ve stayed in the light.”
The guilty verdict on three counts, including murder, will send Smith to prison for a life sentence. According to prosecutors, Smith shot and killed, after the drivers had an altercation on Highway 169 in Plymouth. In the days following the incident, the police chief called the shooting “one of the most tragic events” he’s witnessed in his 20 years of policing.
The other two counts included charges of aiding and abetting a murder and illegal possession of weapons.
“We miss Jay so much,” Kristin said Thursday. “He was a loving father and loving husband and a best friend to so many people, and today is just a step in the right direction.”
Prosecutors called more than 30 witnesses and shared more than 100 exhibits over the course of the seven-day trial, which began on July 11.
“I never wavered from the Plymouth police finding him. I always knew in my heart they would,” she added.
From the outset, prosecutors described Smith as ticked off when Boughton honked and then gestured at his driving. The defense maintained there was no way he could drive and shoot, and implied it was someone else in the car who opened fire.
Following the opening statements, Kristin Boughton was the first witness to take the stand and testify.
“This has been the most painful experience of our lives,” she lamented, adding that Monday, July 11, would’ve been Jay’s 58th birthday.
The victim’s 16-year-old son, Harrison Boughton, was also called as he was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting as he and his father drove home from a baseball game.
Harrison Boughton said the other car was “driving fast, getting close enough to make us swerve out of the way.” He said his dad beeped his horn and “flipped off” the driver of that vehicle. Moments later he heard noise, glass breaking, and saw a circle in the window. Their vehicle crashed and he called 911.
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