Jury convicts Columbia man in death

A Howard County jury convicted a Columbia man yesterday evening in the killing of a 20-year-old Savage man during a fight last summer.

Michael Dean Jackson Jr., 28, of the 8900 block of Skyrock Court was accused of shooting Anthony James Owen-Smith at least six times with a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun during a fight near Jackson's residence June 23. The confrontation resulted from a fight earlier that evening at McDonald's in the Kings Contrivance Village Center.


After deliberating about five hours, the jury found Jackson guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but acquitted him on the more serious charges of first- and second-degree murder.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 12.


During closing arguments yesterday, prosecutors and Jackson's lawyer addressed issues of self-defense in the shooting and the incident being coined as gang-related during the course of the trial that began Monday.

"That confrontation was about disrespect, and the defendant took it to a whole other level," said Assistant State's Attorney Claude de Vastey.

Patrick O'Guinn, Jackson's attorney, said his client was protecting himself from a "vigilante group" looking to hurt him and his teenage brother. O'Guinn said Jackson got involved in the fight at the village center to help a teenager from being beaten.

"Just because he was being a Good Samaritan ... to help somebody so he would not get his butt kicked, [Jackson] is on trial today," O'Guinn said.

O'Guinn also labeled the incidents as gang-related, illustrated by a police report that an officer stopped a group of youths wearing bandanas over their faces near the village center that evening.

Owen-Smith's killing was one of four homicides in Howard County last year.