Prosecutors say 28-year-old Maurice Peaker, Jr. was living with his girlfriend in an Audubon apartment at the time of the shooting. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
By Matt Skoufalos | August 18, 2023
A Philadelphia man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of a Camden City man he shot in 2021.
Maurice Peaker, Jr., 28, was found guilty in a jury trial, the verdict of which was returned two years to the day he shot 67-year-old Thomas Smith of Camden.
According to a statement from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO), Peaker, Jr. shot Smith from a car in the 1100 block of Kaighn Avenue in Camden City, as Smith rode past on a bicycle.
The incident occurred just before 3:30 a.m. August 15, 2021, according to ShotSpotter data documented by Camden County Metro Police. Officers responded to the site, and discovered Smith suffering from gunshot wounds on the sidewalk near the intersection of Rose Street and Kaighn Avenue, the CCPO reported.
He was transported to Cooper University Hospital, and was pronounced dead shortly after 4 a.m.
Detectives identified Peaker, Jr. from surveillance video of the area that showed a 2000 Nissan Maxima with a damaged taillight. They tracked its license plate to an apartment complex in downtown Audubon, where he was residing with a girlfriend at the time.
According to the CCPO, a search of the Maxima produced a shell casing of the same caliber and manufacture as five others recovered at the scene of the shooting. All six were confirmed to have been fired from the same gun through ballistic testing.
Authorities also note that “Peaker, Jr. was captured on surveillance video entering and exiting the [Audubon] apartment building several times on the morning of the shooting,” entering shortly before 3 a.m., and re-emerging within four minutes, wearing a hat and mask.
The Maxima was spotted again in the parking lot shortly after 3:38 a.m., less than 10 minutes after the shooting. The CCPO noted that Peaker, Jr. was seen entering the building while wearing the same hat and mask, and carrying a tote bag that later tested positive “for the chemical elements that are characteristic of gunshot residue.”
The U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force – Camden Division and the U.S. Marshals Eastern PA Violent Crimes Task Force – Philadelphia Division finally apprehended Peaker, Jr. in Yeadon, Pennsylvania on August 26, 2021, less than a day after the crime was committed.
Peaker, Jr. is currently scheduled to be sentenced on November 10, 2023.
Under New Jersey statute, first-degree murder typically carries a sentence of 30 years to life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole before 30 years.
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