Woman pleads guilty to aiding boyfriend who shot trooper
Posted May 2
Durham, N.C. — A woman pleaded guilty Friday morning to helping her boyfriend evade authorities last year after he shot a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper in Durham.
Durham County Judge Elaine Bushfan sentenced Lyndsey Smith to 25 to 39 months in prison, but suspended the sentence. Instead, she will be on supervised probation for two years in Vermont, where she is from.
Smith, 22, was charged with accessory after the fact to assault with a deadly weapon and harboring a fugitive in connection with the Feb. 18, 2013, shooting of Trooper Michael Potts.
Smith, who was pregnant at the time, picked up her boyfriend, Mikel Edward Brady, and helped him elude authorities after he shot Potts in his hands, right shoulder and the right side of his face during a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 70 in Durham.
Brady pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a maximum of 24 years in prison.
Potts, a 12-year veteran of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, had stopped Brady for a seat-belt violation. After the shooting, Potts was able to make it back to his patrol car and use the radio to send out a description of Brady, who was arrested the next day.
At the time, Brady was a fugitive wanted in Vermont on a probation violation.
Potts returned to work this past February, a year after the shooting. Some reminders of the day stay with him, he says, including one of the bullets that lingers in his skull. He was at Friday's court hearing for Smith and says he's ready to move on.
"I’ve been looking forward to these days to get rid of the court proceedings and stuff like that," he said. "So, it’s very good, and now we can all go on with our lives, just like we always wanted to do in the first place."
The judge addressed Smith and Potts during the court hearing Friday.
"I normally do not make comments on cases as serious as this," she said. "I'm glad to see you looking really good back in uniform."
Bushfan then addressed Potts and said she was proud of the way the young woman had turned her life around.
"I know you have learned from this, and I am proud for the way you are going," Bushfan said.
Before the court proceedings were over, an attorney handed Potts a letter that Smith had written to him.