WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--Police say on Christmas Eve 23-year-old Patrick Laray Smith stole an Acura and shot the car's driver in the head. That driver is expected to recover. Officers caught Smith after a brief chase when he refused to stop after an officer spotted the car.
2 Wants To Know started looking into Smith's background. And his wrap sheet from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety's website shows Smith has 3 previous felonies. All of them are for possession of a controlled substance. Along with those are two misdemeanors for resisting an officer. But in all of these cases, Smith never went to prison. He got parole each time.
To find out how this repeat offender avoided incarceration, we took the paperwork to criminal defense attorney Chuck Alexander. Alexander says it's hard to talk about the case without knowing specifics. But it's probably because the felonies were for possession of drugs.
"You want to look behind that and see why he possess that drug. Is he hooked on it? Is there a way to save this person?" Alexander said. "We try to not just create revolving doors in and out of prison, but to effectively treat a person that can benefit from the treatment."
The criminal defense attorney adds the suspect may face a habitual felon add on to his current charges from the shooting. That's because you just have to have three previous felonies to qualify. But the decision to charge him as a habitual felon is up to the District Attorney (DA).
Thursday was a holiday for the court, so we weren't able to reach Forsyth County DA Jim O'Neill for comment.