2005-07-01 / Community

Lee Smith Killed Over Compliment To ‘Preacher’s’ Girl

By Howard Schwach

Lee Smith was gunned down in Far Rockaway more than five years ago because of a comment he made to a girlfriend of one of the men now accused of the killing, according to the woman who was then pregnant with Smith’s child and is now defending his memory.

The woman’s story goes against the original motive suggested by police: drugs. Instead, she says, Smith’s deadly indiscretion was speaking to a girlfriend of Carl Murray, known on the street as ‘Preacher.’

“All he did was say that her clothes looked nice,” the woman said. “Preacher told Lee [Smith] to be quiet and not to say another word to her.”

The Wave reported last week – after Murray and two other men were arrested and charged with Smith’s murder – that the bloodshed came after a drug deal went sour, which was based on information gathered from police sources immediately after the killing. According to the woman, Smith and Murray had also had a fight in which Smith knocked Murray off of his feet – another mistake for which he later paid for with his life, she said.

“They waited for Lee by the store he worked in and pulled out guns when they saw him,” the woman says. She says that one of Murray’s sons went after Smith with a baseball bat, but Smith managed to wrestle it away. Although she did not know the name of the man wielding the bat, she was certain that it was not Carl Murray Jr., better known as “Ditsy,” who was killed in April in a volley of bullets on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 54 Street.

“Ditsy [was] not a bad kid,” she told The Wave.

According to the woman, the other men then pulled out guns and shot Smith as he struggled with them for possession of the weapons.

She added that Smith had come home from a prison term for assault, had stopped his involvement with drugs and found a good job.

“His drug dealing days were over,” she said.

The Wave agreed to withhold the woman’s name because she says she still fears for her life and the life of their little girl, who is now five years old.

Murray, Carl Benjamin and Jerome Jordan were arrested in June for Smith’s murder. They were arraigned on June 10 on charges of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon.

If convicted, each faces a term of 25 years to life in prison.

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