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Charged in connection with a September 2015 home invasion in Edgewood in which his alleged accomplice shot to death, Robert Jay Smith entered an Alford plea last week and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Charged in connection with a September 2015 home invasion in Edgewood in which his alleged accomplice shot to death, Robert Jay Smith entered an Alford plea last week and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Harford County Sheriff's Office / Provided photo)

A Bel Air man accused in a drug-related home invasion in Edgewood a year ago, which ended with another suspect being fatally shot by a resident of the home, could serve 20 years in prison under a sentence imposed following a plea deal reached last week.

Robert Jay Smith, 30, of the 1900 block of Millington Square, entered what is known as an Alford plea in Harford County Circuit Court on Thursday to charges of home invasion and possessing drugs with intent to distribute in the Sept. 20, 2015 crime, Harford State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly said Monday.

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An Alford plea means did not admit guilt per se but agreed the state has enough evidence to convict him, Cassilly said.

Smith faced 50 separate criminal charges, including first-degree murder, and jury selection was underway last week when he decided to take the plea deal. The other charges were dropped by the state.

A second suspect has been arrested and charged in the Sept. 20 home invasion in Edgewood that left the other suspect dead, the Harford County Sheriff's Office reported.

He was sentenced to 25 years on the home invasion charge, with all but 10 years suspended, and 20 years on the drug charge, with all but 10 years suspended.

He will therefore serve a consecutive term of 20 years, Cassilly said. Once released, he will be on five years supervised probation.

Smith and another man, Javon Langston, 34, were accused of breaking into a residence in the 2500 block of Thornberry Drive. Police who responded found Langston dead from a gunshot wound, and initially it was not clear who shot him or why, the Harford County Sheriff's Office, which investigated, said at the time.

The pair had apparently come to the house regarding a drug deal with two people who were living there, according to Cassilly, who said a third roommate, who was not involved in the drug deal, thought it was an armed robbery and shot Langston.

A 34-year-old Aberdeen man was shot to death during a home invasion robbery in Edgewood late Sunday, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

"The idea is that this was supposed to be a set-up for a drug deal that became a rip-off," Cassilly said, explaining the third roommate just happened to walk out on the balcony "and hears these guys yelling downstairs."

No one else was charged in the incident, Cassilly said. The identity of the person who shot Langston has not been made public.

"I think people have to understand, these people who run around kicking doors in and stuff, as far as I'm concerned, someone has a right to use deadly force in their own home," he said.

"They are, basically, in my book, a hero," he said of the shooter.

Langston's last known address was the 4800 block of Atlas Cedar Way in Aberdeen, according to previous information provided by the Sheriff's Office.

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