Man pleads not guilty to killing Vallejo officer

Henry Albert Smith in court
November 29, 2011 4:33:59 PM PST
The man accused of fatally shooting Vallejo police Officer James Capoot earlier this month pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges in a Fairfield courtroom Tuesday morning.

Police have said that Fairfield resident Henry Albert Smith Jr., 37, shot Capoot, 45, during a chase that followed a robbery at a Bank of America on Springs Road the afternoon of Nov. 17.

Capoot, a 19-year veteran of the Vallejo Police Department, had responded to reports of a robbery at the bank that afternoon and pursued Smith, who was driving a GMC Denali, to Janice Street, where the shooting occurred during a foot chase.

Smith has been charged with murder and four special-circumstance allegations that make him eligible for the death penalty. Those are murdering a peace officer, committing murder during a robbery, lying in wait and committing murder to avoid arrest.

On Monday, Judge Peter Foor barred all video cameras from Smith's court proceedings, allowing only still cameras, said Chief Deputy Public Defender Oscar Bobrow, who is representing Smith.

The defense had sought to have both still and video cameras barred from the courtroom, arguing last week that disseminating more images of Smith could put his safety at risk.

Smith will return to court on Thursday, when Foor is set to rule on a gag order requested by the prosecution, Deputy District Attorney Karen Jensen said today. A readiness conference is scheduled for Jan. 31, she said.

Smith is being held without bail in Solano County Jail.


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