No regret, no mercy as Smith receives 170 months for “senseless” shooting


Cabrie Young was a good man, a peacemaker, his mother told a Hennepin County District Court Judge Wednesday. He was murdered while trying to drag an unconscious man into a house.

The judge, Fred Karasov, sentenced Joseph Smith to 170 months in prison for the second-degree unintentional murder of Young on July 4, 2014. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Dominick Mathews had asked for the sentencing guidelines maximum of 189 months.

Judge Karasov summarized the violent life of the 25-year-old Smith. He had a juvenile record, he has had two gun charges against him and he violated his parole. He has been shot twice, one of the times leaving him with a permanent limp. And in his interview with a probation officer, he seemed to have more regret over being caught than over the death of Young.

“Obviously, this was a senseless act,” Judge Karasov said. “He (Young) was not involved in this matter except to help somebody.”

According to the criminal complaint, Young was one of a number of people who attended a Fourth of July party at a home in the 3400 block of Dupont Avenue North in Minneapolis. Several fights broke out and Smith shot Young in the chest as Young tried to help a man who was knocked unconscious during a fight outside the home. Smith pleaded guilty May 28 after testimony had ended in his trial.

Young’s mother, both in her own victim impact statement and in a letter she read from her niece, described Young as someone who liked to draw, wanted to be a tattoo artist, enjoyed showing off new dance moves and he worked hard to provide for this three children. He was so valued at work that his employer recently bought new school clothes for Young’s daughter, his mother said.

Criminal complaint (PDF)