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Harlem teen convicted of killing 14-year-old friend

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 4:09 PM
Last updated Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 1:30 AM
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Alana Calahan’s family shared hugs and a group prayer Thursday outside the Columbia County courtroom, where a jury convicted a 15-year-old Harlem teen of murdering her.

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Lacy Aaron Schmidt, 15, stands with his attorney, Penelope Donkar, as the jury renders a guilty verdict for the murder of 14-year-old neighbor Alana Calahan.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Lacy Aaron Schmidt, 15, stands with his attorney, Penelope Donkar, as the jury renders a guilty verdict for the murder of 14-year-old neighbor Alana Calahan.


After four days of testimony and four hours of deliberation, the jury found Lacy Aaron Schmidt guilty of murder, theft and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Alana’s parents, Paul and BettyJo Calahan, contained their emotions and simply squeezed each other’s hands as the verdict was read. Their daughter was shot with her father’s 9 mm pistol inside their Miles Road home in January 2011.

A victim’s advocate for the court declined any requests for comments from the family.

Schmidt could receive life in prison with or without parole, Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine said.

At the request of Schmidt’s attorney, Penelope Donkar, the sentencing will be delayed while she gathers mitigating evidence to present at the hearing.

“These are very serious charges that carry very serious consequences,” Superior Court Judge Michael N. Annis said after approving the request.

The sentencing hearing will be at least 10 days from the conviction to allow time to contact witnesses and victims. The hearing could be scheduled as early as Feb. 23.

Donkar said in her closing arguments Thursday that the shooting was accidental. She said Schmidt lied many times, including claiming that he chased away a burglar, to protect his relationship with the Calahan family.

“He loved that family,” Donkar said. “He would never have hurt that family.”

The details of the shooting are still unclear, but investigators say Schmidt shot Alana, then dragged her body to a wooded path behind her home in the five or six minutes her sister was away.

Paine referred to Schmidt as “a cold-blooded killer” and said he had a “depraved and malignant heart.”

Donkar said Schmidt “lost it” and didn’t know what to do after what she called a tragic accident.

“Her last breaths of life, (Schmidt) doesn’t care,” Paine countered. “He does not help her. He’s more concerned with getting rid of the body.”

Schmidt will remain in the Regional Youth Detention Center until he is sentenced.

Comments (6) Add comment
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David Parker
7923
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David Parker 02/09/12 - 05:06 pm
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I commend the jury for

I commend the jury for delivering a verdict in this tragedy. It could not have been easy to do given the circumstances.

happychimer
19624
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happychimer 02/09/12 - 05:40 pm
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Now if he can get a long

Now if he can get a long sentence.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 02/09/12 - 06:25 pm
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Let him room with a west
Unpublished

Let him room with a west coast Bubba.

JRC2024
10600
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JRC2024 02/10/12 - 09:11 am
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I do not believe it was an

I do not believe it was an accident. If so the least he would have done was call 911 and not try to hid the body to make it look like a crime scene. So sorry for both families to have to live with this.

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 02/10/12 - 12:18 pm
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I agree JRC.

I agree JRC.

arepeopleblind
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arepeopleblind 02/11/12 - 08:58 am
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My heart goes out to all

My heart goes out to all involved and this situation. Lacy is so young and may have panicked when this happen this is a lot for adults and here we are talking about a child. Does Lacy have any mental issues? Sorry for those who have to live with the repercussions of this tragedy.

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