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Harrisburg man sentenced to life in prison for 2014 homicide at Hall Manor

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Johnny Collins

Johnny Collins

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. – Johnny M. Collins, 25, has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2014 slaying of Daylynn F. Smith at the Hall Manor housing complex in Harrisburg.  Judge Richard A. Lewis imposed that sentence, and a concurrent 24-60 months for carrying a firearm without a license.  A Dauphin County jury convicted Collins of first-degree murder and the firearm offense on April 24th.

Collins, then 23, confronted Smith in the Hall Manor Housing Project on June 3, 2014.  Collins was furious about being blown off over a drug debt.  As Smith attempted to run away, Collins shot Smith in the back with a 9mm handgun, killing him.  The handgun was never recovered, although Harrisburg Police recovered one bullet from a stair in Hall Manor and five shell casings.

Several witnesses at the time of the shooting described a man with ear-length braids or dreadlocks shooting the victim at the scene or putting a handgun back into his waistband and walking away.  These same witnesses later identified Collins from photo lineups.

One witness who identified Collins as the shooter, Miccah Green, disappeared some time in 2015 as the Commonwealth was set to go to trial.  As a result of Green’s absence at trial, Green’s earlier testimony from the preliminary hearing was read to the jury during Collin’s April jury trial.

Judge Lewis today lamented that the homicide was one of many similar homicides that occur in Harrisburg.  He said that Collins’ act, shooting the victim in the back as he ran away, was cowardly.  The victim had no chance to defend himself, the judge said.

Smith’s father, Terrence McMullen, carried a box containing the ashes of his son up to the front of the courtroom and read from a House of Representatives declaration of condolences.  He wept and said that his son was one of 13 children, none of whom will ever get to see their brother again.  Ashley McMullen, Smith’s stepmother, read a poem and denounced the violence plaguing Harrisburg.