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Twins plead guilty in shooting death of 19-year-old killed while trying to protect sister

Twin brothers have pleaded guilty in the 2020 shooting death of a Midfield teen who died trying to protect his younger sister.

Zamir Princeton Jones and Zaden Prince Jones, now 21, were charged with murder in the Dec. 6, 2020, slaying of 19-year-old Christian Dewayne Smith in Center Point.

The brothers’ trial was set to begin Monday before Jefferson County Circuit Judge Alaric May.

Instead, they pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. The plea agreement, court records show, calls for a 20-year sentence with four years to serve in the Alabama Department of Corrections, followed by five years of probation.

Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Jessica Hebson is handling the case. The brothers were represented by Edmond Earle and Christopher Daniel.

The brothers have been out of jail on bond since Dec. 15, 2020, and remain out of jail. Their sentencing is set for April 1.

The deadly shooting happened about 9:30 p.m. that Sunday in the 1600 block of Second Street N.E. Jefferson County sheriff’s officials said the victim was found in the middle of the street suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The investigation showed that Smith went to the twins’ home to confront them regarding allegations surrounding a separate incident involving one of Smith’s family members. The two then opened fire on Smith, killing him.

One witness told AL.com at the time that he was outside visiting with family members when a group of people pulled up in a vehicle and were outside arguing with somebody who lived in the neighborhood.

Center Point Homicide Dec. 6, 2020

A young man was shot to death Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in the 1600 block of Second Street N.E.

The victim, he said, was telling a woman in one of the homes, “Tell your son to come outside.”

He said the victim walked down the street and was met by the others who then shot him.

Witnesses reported hearing at least four shots and said they believe the victim was shot multiple times. A certified nursing assistant who was on the scene said she gave him CPR, but it was to no avail.

Smith’s younger sister was at the scene with him when he was shot. Multiple other families rushed to the scene after the deadly shooting.

“He just wanted to protect his sister,’’ his mother, Crystal Smith, later said. “He was always protective of his brother and sister. He was just a good kid.”

Christian Smith

Christian Smith, a 19-year-old Midfield High School graduate, was honored Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at a vigil. He was shot to death Sunday, Dec. 6, in Center Point.

A vigil for the victim was later held at Midfield High School where Smith had played percussion in the band. He also played football, baseball and participated in ROTC.

The marching band’s percussionists played, and balloons were released in Smith’s memory.

School staff said at the vigil that Smith was a leader who touched a lot of lives.

After graduation, Smith had worked several jobs and trying to launch a musical career.

“I am so proud of my son. He was a good kid, a loving kid, always to protecting others,’’ his mother previously said.

“I’m overwhelmed at how many people loved my baby. That’s all I ever wanted was for him to be a good person and treat people how he wanted to be treated.”

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