COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Jeffery Smith, the man charged with the first homicide in Upper Arlington in 8 years, was released from the Franklin County jail early Thursday morning.
"I'm not mad because this is a case of mistaken identity,” Smith said. “It's possible the guy could look like me. As long as they get it all corrected – then I go on.”
Smith was charged with aggravated murder in connection with Monday’s stabbing death 31-year-old Charles McCoy outside the China Dynasty restaurant on Lane Avenue.
Smith turned himself into police custody Tuesday night. At Smith’s arraignment Wednesday morning, attorney Joseph Landusky argued that it was a case of mistaken identity. Bond was set at $1.5 million. “We are hoping that a man is not wrongfully convicted of an offense he did not commit,” Joseph Landusky said.
The manager of the restaurant told NBC4 today that after he saw Smith’s court arraignment on the news he told police they had the wrong guy. The manager says he had witnessed the fight that resulted in McCoy’s death.
Landusky also informed police that Smith has home security camera video showing him at home at the time of the murder.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien issued the following statement Wednesday evening: Based on information received after his court appearance this morning, the prosecutor's office requested that Jeffery Smith be released from custody on a bond while further investigation is done. Charges currently remain pending and were not dismissed but he was released from jail.
Court records show Smith was released on his own recognizance.
"I know I'm not a murderer - not a killer," Smith said as he was released from jail. “I'm an innocent man. And I hope they get the killer…. I'd say this to the victim's family - I'm sorry, but I'm not the one who murdered your son or brother."
Landusky said he was pleased that police and prosecutors recognized they had the wrong guy. “It just shows to me that it’s been good work on behalf of the prosecution and law enforcement to try and really get the bad guy,” Landusky said. “We don’t fault them for that. None of us are perfect.”