Ky. man who shot officer sentenced to life in federal prison

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2022

‘Incredibly violent offender’ kidnapped woman

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man, who prosectors called an “incredibly violent offender” for shooting a police officer during a kidnapping has been sentenced to life in federal prison.

Jonathan Lee Smithers, 41, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Ashland, Kentucky.

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Smithers had already entered a guilty plea to attempted murder in September in state court.

“Not only did he use a firearm to abduct, terrify, and assault someone he was in a relationship with, he shot and seriously wounded a law enforcement officer responding to the scene,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  “Fortunately, through the dedicated work of our law enforcement partners, he must now pay the costs of his astonishing conduct.  Protecting our communities from violence is one of our highest priorities and we assume this sentence will serve as an example of the considerable consequences that can face those who engage in such stark acts of violence.”

Federal prosecutors said in May of this year, Smithers physically abused a woman he had been in a relationship with and held her at gunpoint in a car and on foot until the woman escaped after several hours.

A responding police officer approached Smithers as he was coming out of a wooded area.

Smithers shot Flatwoods police offficer Tommy Robinson in the throat. Robinson was hospitalized and survived the shooting.

“Mr. Smithers not only tragically kidnapped his trusted partner and led her on a series of terrorizing demands, but he then seriously wounded a local police officer,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen said in a media release.