Taurian Smith (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy photo)

A 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty to accidentally shooting his friend in Longmont was spared prison and sentenced to probation based on input from attorneys and the victim in the case.

Taurian Ladon Smith, 21, was sentenced to six years of probation with two years of work release for second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury.

Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill could have sentenced Smith to between five and 16 years in prison, and Mulvahill said coming into the hearing that is where he was leaning.

“I’ll be honest with you, before I heard from the DA and his position and the victim’s position, I was fairly well convinced a (Department of Corrections) sentence was appropriate,” Mulvahill said. “I’m generally of the mind that when you use a deadly weapon and you hurt somebody seriously, you need to go to prison.”

But after hearing from prosecutors, defense attorneys and Smith himself, Mulvahill decided to go with a community-based sentence. Mulvahill weighed community corrections versus probation, at one point going silent for a couple of minutes before ultimately going with probation.

“Bottom line is I don’t think you were trying to hurt your friend,” Mulvahill said. “But what you did was incredibly stupid and incredibly dangerous, and you hurt your friend seriously.”

The pre-sentence investigation recommended community corrections, and Mulvahill said being one step from a prison sentence was sometimes a motivating factor. But Mulvahill said he felt probation would give Smith a better chance to address what appeared to be underlying mental health and substance abuse issues.

“I think sometimes having that consequence weighing on you (in community corrections) can be a significant and immediate motivator,” Mulvahill said. “On the other hand, I do think our probation department does a much better job of applying supervision and treatment.”

According to police, officers were called to the 2200 block of Pratt Street in Longmont on June 12, 2019, for a reported shooting. Officers pulled over a vehicle with Smith, two other men and a 17-year-old with a gunshot wound on the way to the hospital.

The teen was taken to Longmont United Hospital but then eventually airlifted to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood with serious injuries. The teen had surgery due to the bullet going through his liver, prosecutors said.

Smith and witnesses initially told police the teen had been shot while they were walking through a field, but later said the gun went off accidentally while they were handling it.

‘My actions were definitely wrong, there is no denying that,” Smith said. “I’m just glad that my friend is OK.”

Prosecutors initially filed attempted murder and first-degree assault charges based on statements about an argument, but defense attorney Emily Briggs said those statements were made “joking around.”

“He did not at any point intend to kill or seriously injure his best friend,” Briggs said. “This very clearly was a reckless shooting, and Taurian has accepted responsibility and plead guilty to that charge.”

Boulder Deputy District Attorney Adam Kendall agreed that had the case gone to trial, the second-degree assault charge was most likely the conviction that would have resulted, and credited Smith with taking responsibility by pleading guilty.

Kendall also said the named victim in the case, who did not appear for the hearing, asked for a probation sentence.

“(The victim) does not believe in any way Mr. Smith would have intended to shoot him,” Kendall said.

But Kendall also noted that it was “pure luck” the victim was not killed, and also noted Smith has two outstanding bench warrants for new cases, including one in Douglas County that involves a co-defendant accused of carrying a loaded weapon.

Ultimately, Kendall said prosecutors would defer to the court.

“This one is tough,” Kendall said.

Mulvahill agreed the new cases were concerning, especially given Smth’s history with cases involving weapons.

“It puts a question in my mind of whether you’re going to be able to seriously apply yourself to a probation sentence,” Mulvahill said.

But based on Smith’s age and input from the parties in the case, Mulvahill said he was going to give Smith an opportunity and urged him to “straighten your life out.”

“I’ll give you one chance to do that,” Mulvahill said. “I’m not sentencing you to prison today. But if you violate the terms I impose, I will be there to sentence you on the revocation, and you will not go back on probation, and you will not go to community corrections. You will go to prison.”

Smith was remanded into custody of the Boulder County Jail to wait for a work release bed and deal with his outstanding warrants. Mulvahill said Smith will not get credit for the year he served in jail toward the work release sentence, but said that with good behavior it was likely he would soon be able to convert it to a day reporting sentence.

“Make the most of it, get the treatment you need,” Mulvahill said. “You’re really sorry for hurting your friend, that’s the best way you can show it.”

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Taurian Smith (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy photo)

A 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty to accidentally shooting his friend in Longmont was spared prison and sentenced to probation based on input from attorneys and the victim in the case.

Taurian Ladon Smith, 21, was sentenced to six years of probation with two years of work release for second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury.

Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill could have sentenced Smith to between five and 16 years in prison, and Mulvahill said coming into the hearing that is where he was leaning.

“I’ll be honest with you, before I heard from the DA and his position and the victim’s position, I was fairly well convinced a (Department of Corrections) sentence was appropriate,” Mulvahill said. “I’m generally of the mind that when you use a deadly weapon and you hurt somebody seriously, you need to go to prison.”

But after hearing from prosecutors, defense attorneys and Smith himself, Mulvahill decided to go with a community-based sentence. Mulvahill weighed community corrections versus probation, at one point going silent for a couple of minutes before ultimately going with probation.

“Bottom line is I don’t think you were trying to hurt your friend,” Mulvahill said. “But what you did was incredibly stupid and incredibly dangerous, and you hurt your friend seriously.”

The pre-sentence investigation recommended community corrections, and Mulvahill said being one step from a prison sentence was sometimes a motivating factor. But Mulvahill said he felt probation would give Smith a better chance to address what appeared to be underlying mental health and substance abuse issues.

“I think sometimes having that consequence weighing on you (in community corrections) can be a significant and immediate motivator,” Mulvahill said. “On the other hand, I do think our probation department does a much better job of applying supervision and treatment.”

According to police, officers were called to the 2200 block of Pratt Street in Longmont on June 12, 2019, for a reported shooting. Officers pulled over a vehicle with Smith, two other men and a 17-year-old with a gunshot wound on the way to the hospital.

The teen was taken to Longmont United Hospital but then eventually airlifted to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood with serious injuries. The teen had surgery due to the bullet going through his liver, prosecutors said.

Smith and witnesses initially told police the teen had been shot while they were walking through a field, but later said the gun went off accidentally while they were handling it.

‘My actions were definitely wrong, there is no denying that,” Smith said. “I’m just glad that my friend is OK.”

Prosecutors initially filed attempted murder and first-degree assault charges based on statements about an argument, but defense attorney Emily Briggs said those statements were made “joking around.”

“He did not at any point intend to kill or seriously injure his best friend,” Briggs said. “This very clearly was a reckless shooting, and Taurian has accepted responsibility and plead guilty to that charge.”

Boulder Deputy District Attorney Adam Kendall agreed that had the case gone to trial, the second-degree assault charge was most likely the conviction that would have resulted, and credited Smith with taking responsibility by pleading guilty.

Kendall also said the named victim in the case, who did not appear for the hearing, asked for a probation sentence.

“(The victim) does not believe in any way Mr. Smith would have intended to shoot him,” Kendall said.

But Kendall also noted that it was “pure luck” the victim was not killed, and also noted Smith has two outstanding bench warrants for new cases, including one in Douglas County that involves a co-defendant accused of carrying a loaded weapon.

Ultimately, Kendall said prosecutors would defer to the court.

“This one is tough,” Kendall said.

Mulvahill agreed the new cases were concerning, especially given Smth’s history with cases involving weapons.

“It puts a question in my mind of whether you’re going to be able to seriously apply yourself to a probation sentence,” Mulvahill said.

But based on Smith’s age and input from the parties in the case, Mulvahill said he was going to give Smith an opportunity and urged him to “straighten your life out.”

“I’ll give you one chance to do that,” Mulvahill said. “I’m not sentencing you to prison today. But if you violate the terms I impose, I will be there to sentence you on the revocation, and you will not go back on probation, and you will not go to community corrections. You will go to prison.”

Smith was remanded into custody of the Boulder County Jail to wait for a work release bed and deal with his outstanding warrants. Mulvahill said Smith will not get credit for the year he served in jail toward the work release sentence, but said that with good behavior it was likely he would soon be able to convert it to a day reporting sentence.

“Make the most of it, get the treatment you need,” Mulvahill said. “You’re really sorry for hurting your friend, that’s the best way you can show it.”

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