Michael Smith pleaded guilty last Wednesday to fleeing law enforcement, acting as an accessory after the fact to an assault with intent to kill, and one other weapons charge in connection with the shooting death of 24-year-old Paul Aime Tanoh Danzo.
On March 21, police found Danzo around 2:50 a.m. in the driver’s seat of a car parked on the 1000 block of 17th Street Northwest. He was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body and head, and transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m.
Smith entered his plea in open court last Wednesday. At this time, however, a copy of the plea agreement and a proffer of facts in the case are not publicly available in the court’s record system. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Charging documents alleged that Danzo was murdered after getting into a fight at Balleto night club. According to the documents, several hours before the murder, Smith and another man parked at the Colonial Parking Garage near Balleto Night Club.
Those documents stated that video footage showed Smith and his companion get into a verbal argument in the club around 2:30 a.m. on March 21. After the argument, documents say that Danzo punched Smith’s companion in the face and left the club. According to the documents, Smith and the man he arrived with followed Danzo out of the club.
Smith and his companion then headed back to the parking garage to retrieve something from the vehicle, documents say. Video footage shows the two men walk toward the direction where Danzo was, after leaving the parking garage. The documents allege that when the two men were unable to find Danzo, they went back to the parking garage to retrieve the black BMW from valet.
According to the documents, around 2:47 a.m. witnesses heard four gunshots coming from 17th Street, and saw a black male turn and rush toward a black BMW that fled the scene.
In October, Erik Postell was also arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder while armed and held in connection with Danzo’s death. Postell is scheduled for a felony status conference with Judge Leibovitz on Jan. 3, 2014.
Smith is expected in court Feb. 28, 2014 for what is scheduled as a status hearing.