After a teen lost his father, a beloved Florida football coach, who viewed the boy as a “nephew,” welcomed him into his home. Unfortunately, the youngster had a horrible way of thanking the man.
Corey Smith, the 46-year-old beloved head football coach at Miami Senior High School, selflessly invited 15-year-old Charles Alexander into his home after the boy’s own father was killed while committing a crime. Unfortunately, the teen had a horrible way of showing his gratitude. After taking Charles into his home, Smith was found shot dead with his own handgun at his home in West Little River, Florida.
Smith and 41-year-old Lamar Alexander were technically cousins, but they were raised as brothers growing up, so Lamar’s son, Charles, was considered Smith’s “nephew.” That’s why, when Lamar, an ex-convicted felon, was killed in a shootout with police, Smith didn’t hesitate to invite Charles into his home. Unfortunately for Smith, the saying “like father, like son” proved to be true.
Lamar Alexander and another ex-con, 41-year-old Ronnie Jerome Hill, died in a shootout with police after they tried to rob a jewelry store while armed. After the armed robbery attempt, the pair hijacked a UPS truck, held the driver hostage, and led authorities on a high-speed chase from Coral Gables, Florida, which ended when the vehicle got stuck in traffic on a highway near Miramar, Daily Mail reported.
A shootout with police, which was caught on television, ensued. In addition to the two suspects, Frank Ordonez, the 27-year-old UPS driver who was taken hostage, and 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw, another motorist who happened to be in the area, were killed. Cutshaw, a union representative, was just two years away from retirement when he was fatally struck in his car. Ordonez left behind two young daughters.
“In life, you gotta make better decisions,” Smith said of Lamar Alexander the day after the hostage shootout. “We weren’t raised like that. I love my brother, but he’s been making bad decisions his whole life.”
Smith didn’t hold Lamar’s poor choices against the boy whom he considered his nephew. When Charles called to reconnect and asked to come over on a Sunday, even though Smith hadn’t seen the teen since his father was killed, the coach didn’t hesitate to welcome the boy with open arms. However, it would be a grave mistake.
“He asked to come over,” Smith’s wife, Amina, recalled. “We hadn’t seen him since his dad passed. Corey picked him up Sunday night and he spent the night,” she added. “I left to go to work.”
The following day, less than a year after Lamar’s death, the police were called to Smith’s home after at least three gunshots were heard by neighbors on that fateful Monday morning. Officers responded to the scene where Smith was found shot to death in his den. According to Charles, who was home with Smith at the time, he was studying when the shooting occurred. He denied any involvement.
After being interviewed for several hours by the Miami-Dade Police Department, Charles was allowed to go home, but as the investigation continued, his alibi began to unravel. According to detectives, surveillance video footage proved that Charles was the only one inside the home with Corey Smith at the time of the shooting.
Investigators also discovered Smith’s own 9mm Beretta handgun in a trash can outside the home and believe it was the murder weapon used to kill him. Police also found $7,450 in cash, belonging to the coach, inside a pair of Charles’ jeans which were hidden in a black bag. The biggest break in the case came just days after Smith’s death, though, when Charles’ mother called the police.
With evidence mounting against the young relative, Charles’ mother asked to speak with the police, alleging that she was “in fear of the defendant,” who she said confessed to her that he fatally shot his uncle while staying over at his house after robbing him of over $7,000 cash. Following the confession, Charles Alexander was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and armed grand theft.
In addition to the confession given to his mother, Charles Alexander also reportedly admitted to investigators that he was the one who shot Corey Smith. Although Charles was initially brought before the juvenile court, where a judge ordered him to be held in secure detention, Miami-Dade County prosecutors said they would try him as an adult, the Miami Herald reported.
Although this is hopefully his last, this was not Charles Alexander’s first run-in with the law. In May 2018, he was arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at a middle school in Allapattah. School administrators received “numerous phone calls” stating a bomb would be detonated unless the school was evacuated, according to investigators. The calls were traced to a phone on campus, and Charles Alexander and two others were arrested.
That case, which was still ongoing at the time of Corey Smith’s death, was brought before the juvenile court but stalled after Charles Alexander was declared incompetent to stand trial four times due to mental health problems. “There are many juveniles who also suffer from early childhood trauma, learning deficiencies, and mental illness, and the criminal justice system can no longer afford to allow them to fall through the cracks,” Alexander’s attorney, Rod Vereen, told the Herald.
“If the allegations are proven true, that my client committed this unfortunate crime, then here’s a prime example of the system failing this child,” Vereen furthered. “Should he have been involuntarily committed over the past couple of years, so he would not have been a danger to the community? Coach Smith would still be alive today, right? If the facts are true, who failed whom?”
Charles Alexander’s attorney raises legitimate questions. At what point should the system declare that a teen is a danger to others? Sadly, it’s often after they cause someone else harm. After all, no one likes to see a child locked up, and if the authorities had committed Charles after the bomb threats, they likely would have been lambasted as racists who were too hard on the black teen. So, he was given a second chance and allowed to go free. Now, a man has paid for it with his life. Maybe it’s time to get tougher on crime — even when it’s a teen committing it.