Smith was found dead inside his car on the morning he was killed, his fiancee making the discovery after going to the restaurant when he didn't answer his cellphone. Police believe he was killed shortly after locking up the restaurant at about 3 a.m.
Wednesday's charges came about a week after authorities released new surveillance footage showing two men driving behind the restaurant in a Chevrolet Malibu. "Numerous" tips stemming from that footage are what helped crack the case, Whitlow said.
Police believe the Malibu belonged to an “associate” of Haney and Jackson.
Haney, a Jonesboro resident, has been charged with felony murder, malice murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Jackson was charged as a party to the crimes of felony murder, malice murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault.
Whitlow declined to offer more specifics, but said both men were currently “housed at other facilities for security reasons.” They will be brought to Fayette County in the coming days for preliminary hearings.
“These are bad guys. Period,” Whitlow said. “… And we’re not going to take any chances.”
Flanked by other family members at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Smith’s cousin, Jessalyn Dorsey, thanked the authorities involved in apprehending the alleged killers.
Smith, she said, was his parents’ only child, a father to a young girl and an “extraordinary young man.”
“We’ve truly lost a special member of our family,” Dorsey said.