Maryland man found guilty in shooting, stabbing death of Prince George’s Co. police officer’s son

Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy speaks after a Fort Washington man was convicted of killing the song of a police officer. (WTOP/John Domen)

A Maryland man was found guilty of murdering the son of a Prince George’s County police detective in a shooting and stabbing that happened at a park last fall.

Last week, a jury found Kenneth Smith, 54, of Fort Washington, guilty of several charges, including the first-degree murder in the killing of 30-year-old Desmond Thomas. Thomas was the son of Det. Donnell Thomas.

Prosecutors said the two had an argument and misunderstanding and described what happened last October as “senseless.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Porter said Thomas and another person, who survived the shooting, were just playing basketball, when Smith said something to the two because he thought Thomas and the other person were with his 14-year-old daughter. But Porter said they did not know each other.

Afterward, Porter said Smith and his stepson ambushed the two 30-year-olds.

“The tragedy is that the basketball court was right next to the swing set,” where Smith’s daughters had been playing, Porter added.

Porter said Smith started cursing and accusing the men of being at the park with the girls, while the two men kept saying that they did not know the girls and that they were just there to play basketball.

That’s when Smith’s stepson started shooting, prosecutors said.

Authorities allege that after Smith’s stepson Lamont Scott shot Thomas and the other man, Smith then stabbed Thomas several times.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said Smith testified in his own defense during the trial, but said prosecutors began to catch him in a series of lies as they probed into his defense argument, making it impossible for the jury to believe him.

She said they also played a phone call recorded from the jail, where Smith bragged about destroying evidence.

“Life is so precious,” said Braveboy. “Your first instinct shouldn’t be to not only accuse people, but to be armed. And then to use those weapons against two people who you don’t know. If everyone is saying, ‘Look we don’t know them,’ then you should accept that as fact.”

Thomas is the father of a 6-year-old boy.

“My firstborn son, Desmond, was taken from me in a completely senseless, tragic and avoidable act of violence,” Donnell Thomas said. “It never should have happened.”

Donnell Thomas said Desmond will live on through his son.

“Our family is strong and we will heal,” Donnell Thomas said.

Scott, Smith’s stepson, is due to go on trial for his role in the death of Thomas later this summer.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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