Teenage murder suspect held without bail after eluding capture for months

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — After months on the run, a teenager wanted in connection with a murder in Fall River is behind bars.

The Bristol County District Attorney’s office said Jayden Smith was captured Monday night. He was wanted in connection with the shooting death of 29-year-old Jerrod Cohen, who was gunned down outside his home on Plain Street in Fall River back in July.

Smith, 16, went before a judge Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to murder and firearms charges. He was ordered to be held without bail.

Smith was identified as a suspect in the days after the killing and had been on the lam since. Smith’s guardian said he hadn’t been home since the night of the murder, and his friends said they hadn’t seen or heard from him, according to court documents obtained by Eyewitness News. Smith was captured Monday night an an East Main Street apartment in Fall River, hiding in the bedroom of a friend. That friend, a 16-year-old boy, was charged in juvenile court Tuesday with accessory to murder after the fact, according to the DA’s office.

In a Fall River police narrative accompanying a July warrant for Smith’s arrest, multiple eyewitnesses at the scene reported seeing two males wearing black hooded sweatshirts and backpacks stop in front of the apartment building, pull out firearms, then start firing at Cohen.

The witnesses later identified one of the shooters from a photo array as 16-year-old Joel Lopez, who was arrested soon after and charged with murder.

In further interviews, police said one of the witnesses identified Smith as the second shooter. That person shed a little more light on the motive, saying he or she had previously spoken with Lopez and the two suspects had come to Plain Street to settle a disagreement. That witness identified Smith from a photo array. Police also obtained surveillance video of Smith and Lopez walking on Plain Street shortly before the murder.

Police have not said if the victim – a father of three – knew the suspects. He was shot in the right lung, upper abdomen and left bicep, according to the police report.

A witness told police that he/she hid behind a car when the two opened fire. Police said the witness, only identified as IT, was supposed to meet the two teens on Plain Street that night.

Lopez was held without bail earlier this month. Both men were charged as adults.

Smith was ranked first on the Fall River’s Police Department’s Most Wanted List and was recently added to the Massachusetts State Police Most Wanted List.

Members of the Fall River Police Department, the State Police Detective Unit assigned to District Attorney Quinn’s office and the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section assisted in the arrest.

Smith is due back in court for a bail hearing in December.

Dan Carpenter contributed to this story.