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District Attorney: Arrest made in murder of Quarryville man found in Chester County

CHESTER COUNTY — Authorities in Chester County say an arrested has been made in the homicide of a Lancaster County man who was found dead last week along the side of a road in West Fallowfield Township.

Hakeem Smith, 30, of Oxford, has been charged in the death of Sam Algarin, whose body was found on Limestone Road at about 10:15 p.m. last Thursday. Algarin died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, investigators say.

Smith, of the 200 block of Conowingo Circle, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, criminal homicide, robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, criminal possession of a firearm, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, and possessing the instruments of crime, according to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

During the investigation, authorities discovered video of Smith with the victim’s vehicle minutes after the murder, Smith’s palm print on the vehicle after it was abandoned, and a fingerprint of Smith’s on the victim’s cell phone, which was found discarded in a field near the body, Hogan’s office said in a press release announcing the arrest.

“This was a senseless and cold-blooded killing,” Hogan said in the release. “The defendant needed a car and money, so he killed an innocent victim to get what he wanted. Sam Algarin was a good father to his children, a good son to his mother, a good worker to his employer, and a friend to everybody he met. The defendant killed the victim and dumped him on the side of the road like trash. Now the defendant will face justice.”

According to investigators, Smith had gotten into a domestic dispute with his mother on the night of the murder. Police were called to the residence, where Smith was removed. He left on foot, carrying bags of his belongings, because he did not have a car, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators believe Smith found Algarin at a Starbucks near Smith’s residence. According to investigators, Algarin parked his vehicle, a GMC Terrain, outside the Starbucks earlier that night. Algarin, his two sons, and his mother then drove to a martial arts class in his mother’s car. After the class was over at about 9 p.m., Algarin and his family picked up pizza at a local shop at 9:12, then returned to the Starbucks parking lot, where Algarin’s mother dropped him off to pick up his parked vehicle.

Algarin’s mother then drove Algarin’s children to her home, where Algarin was supposed to meet them. But Algarin never returned, police say.

Instead, Algarin was found dead of a gunshot wound on the side of Limestone Road. His vehicle, wallet, and phone were all missing. He was identified by his fingerprints, investigators say.

Police checked surveillance video from several nearby businesses, eventually locating footage from a Turkey Hill that showed Smith arriving at the store in Algarin’s vehicle at 9:46 p.m. The video showed that Smith was unfamiliar with the vehicle, not realizing which side the gas tank was on, and exhibiting confusion about how to open the tank, investigators allege.

The vehicle was recovered on Sept. 16, police say. It was abandoned in Westtown Township. Police say it was intentionally wiped down, but investigators found blood on the driver’s seat and seatbelt and Smith’s palmprint on one of the door windows.

Investigators also located the victim’s phone in a field along a road about two miles from where Algarin’s body was found. Smith’s fingerprint was found on the phone, investigators say.

Police found Smith in West Chester Tuesday morning, when he was spotted on the street by a police officer. He allegedly attempted to flee into a residence, but later surrendered to the West Chester SWAT team.

He was remanded to Chester County Prison, where he is being held without bail.