Three Ohio teenagers were charged with murder on Wednesday in connection with the death of a father of three who was brutally attacked outside a Kroger supermarket in Columbus in early December. The incident occurred on the night of December 6 when Jamarion Fredrae Evans-Bennett, 19, Dionta Davon Hughes, 18, and a 17-year-old male allegedly got into a fight with shoppers inside the Kroger on South High Street. After being told to leave by store security, the teens waited for 53-year-old Donald “Donnie” Smith, Jr. to exit the store and attacked him.
Witnesses reported that the defendants, who were later seen “laughing and enjoying themselves,” continued to kick, punch, and stomp on Smith while he was on the ground. The assault only ended when an armed witness intervened and yelled at the suspects to stop. The defendants then fled the scene. Smith was left unconscious and bleeding from head injuries sustained in the attack. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition and underwent brain surgery, but sadly, he did not survive.
A GoFundMe was started by Nicole Evans, Smith’s longtime partner and mother to their two children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son. The campaign aimed to raise funds for funeral expenses as Smith did not have insurance. Evans described the attack as a “random act of violence” and expressed devastation over losing Smith, who was described as a loving father.
Evans-Bennett and Hughes were arrested on Wednesday, and their arraignments were scheduled for Thursday. The third suspect, a minor, was also arrested on the same day, although it is unclear if they will be charged as an adult.
The family of Donnie Smith, who died one week before Christmas, described him as a devoted father and sports enthusiast. The tragic incident has left his children and loved ones devastated.
This case highlights the senseless violence that can occur in public spaces and the impact it can have on the victims’ families. The investigation is ongoing, and the defendants will face the charges in court.