‘They were laughing the whole time’: 2 adults, 1 minor charged in beating death of father of 3 outside Ohio Kroger


Two adults and one teenager were arrested and charged on Dec. 20 with the murder of a 53-year-old father of three in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday after beating him up outside a Kroger store at the Great Southern Shopping Center on South High Avenue. 

The incident happened approximately at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6. The father, identified as Donnie Smith Jr., later died in the hospital on Dec. 18 after being admitted in critical condition.

The suspects 18-year-old Dionta Davon Hughes, 19-year-old Jamarion Fredrae Evans-Bennett, and another 17-year-old male, got into an altercation with patrons inside the Kroger and security asked them to leave. 

Surveillance video recorded the altercation after the three exited the store. Evans-Bennett, Hughes, and the other male knocked him suddenly to the ground and began kicking and punching Smith. 

Two friends of Smith who had gone shopping with him, Seth and Brandon, witnessed the assault and recalled it in reports afterwards.

The “[t]eenagers were in the Kroger, trying to pick on whoever they could,” Brandon recalled. “They were laughing the whole time they were doing it.”

Seth ran to Smith’s side where he was injured on the ground. “I said his name, let him know I was there,” said Seth, “let him know he was okay. He was unconscious.”

As the assault was taking place, a witness with a firearm stepped forward and demanded they stop. At that point, the three suspects fled and drove off in a red car. 

Charging documents reported that the suspects were waiting outside the store for Smith after being kicked out and then attacked him, leaving him unconscious and bleeding from the head. 

Smith’s three children included a 15-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter.

Hughes and Evans-Bennett are now in Franklin County jail on $1 million bond. The 17-year-old male has not been identified and is in the county’s juvenile detention center.

The 17-year-old went before the judge on Friday and has a follow-up hearing set for Jan. 16 to determine whether or not he will be tried as an adult. 

The other two have a history as repeat offenders in the juvenile system.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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