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The Solano County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty for the Fairfield man charged with killing Vallejo police Officer James Capoot in November 2011. Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen made the announcement this morning in Solano County Superior Court, where Henry Albert Smith Jr., 39, re-entered a not guilty plea to Capoot’s murder on Nov. 17, 2011, and denied several special circumstances that subject him to capital punishment. Smith was held to answer to the murder and special circumstances after a preliminary hearing last November.
The special circumstances allege that Smith killed Capoot during the performance of the officer’s duties, he knew or should have known Capoot was a police officer, killed Capoot by lying in wait, while fleeing police after committing a robbery, and to avoid arrest. Smith’s trial date will be set on May 10, Jensen said this morning. Smith is charged with fatally shooting Capoot, a 19-year veteran of the Vallejo Police Department who chased him in the 100 block of Janice Street after a robbery at a nearby Bank of America.
Capoot and Smith were about 10 to 12 feet apart when Smith allegedly fired two or three shots, police said. Capoot was wearing body armor but suffered a mortal wound in the back, Sgt. Jeff Bassett said. Smith was arrested as he tried to break into a nearby home, police said. Capoot, 45, a Vacaville resident, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. An estimated 4,000 people attended his memorial service at Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field.
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