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Press Release

Fairbanks Man Convicted of Murder in the Second Degree

June 30, 2021

(Fairbanks, Alaska) – On June 30, 2021, a Fairbanks judge returned a guilty verdict against 23-year-old Ryder Smith of Fairbanks for the November 14, 2019 shooting death of Peter Horace-Wright. Mr. Smith had previously waived his right to a jury trial, opting for a bench trial in which the judge considered the evidence and rendered a verdict. Superior Court Judge Brent Bennett acquitted Mr. Smith of Murder in the First Degree, but found him guilty of the lesser-included offense of Murder in the Second Degree. For this conviction, Mr. Smith faces a sentence of 15 to 99 years imprisonment. Mr. Smith was also acquitted of Tampering with Physical Evidence.

Assistant District Attorney Katy Mason, who prosecuted the case, thanks the Alaska State Troopers for their hard work investigating the matter. Fairbanks District Attorney Joe Dallaire commends ADA Mason and Paralegal Jennifer McCormick for their diligence and professionalism in the pursuit of justice on this case.

Mr. Smith is currently in the custody of the Department of Corrections. His sentencing is scheduled for October 28, 2021.

This was the first felony trial held in Fairbanks and the sixth overall trial held in Interior Alaska since the Alaska Supreme Court suspended jury trials in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

CONTACT: Fairbanks District Attorney Joe Dallaire joe.dallaire@alaska.gov.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Grace Lee.