Teen pleads guilty to assault

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Suffolk teen pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting two women while they jogged in the Suffolk Meadows neighborhood this summer.

Tyrell Malik Smith, 15, received a 42-year suspended sentence from Judge Carl E. Eason Jr. Smith will be committed to the state Department of Juvenile Justice serious offender program and will receive sex offender treatment until his 21st birthday.

Smith assaulted women on July 12 and Aug. 4 as they exercised at parks and on roads near their homes.

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In the first incident, a woman was walking to the park to run when she noticed Smith following her, prosecutor Marie Walls said in court. He got closer and closer until she eventually began to sprint across the grass toward the running path.

She did not see him again while she ran for about 45 minutes, Walls said. However, as she was nearing the end of her run, Smith grabbed her from behind and turned her around so that they were face to face. She began to scream and fight him as he attempted to quiet her. Finally, she broke away and ran screaming across the field. Seeing no neighbors outside, she ran toward the main road and called 911 on her cell phone as she ran.

The woman told police she would be able to identify a suspect, Walls added.

In the second incident, a woman was jogging on Lord’s Lane in the Suffolk Meadows neighborhood when Smith grabbed her and attempted to pull her toward a wooded area, Walls said. It was too dark for her to see his face; however, she told police her attacker had been carrying a sports bag and helmet, and she had seen several teens getting off an activity bus with similar gear earlier.

After interviews with several teens identified as having been on the bus were fruitless, police began a door-to-door canvass of the neighborhood. When they arrived at Smith’s house, he admitted to touching one of the victims but said he had not assaulted her.

When the first victim was shown a photo lineup, she identified Smith as her attacker, Walls said.

After Smith completes the juvenile justice department program, he will be on supervised probation for the rest of his life and will be financially responsible for counseling and treatment for his victims.

Eason said Smith’s lack of a previous record contributed to the suspended sentence and opportunity for a treatment program.