For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4304 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks announces that Robert Lonnell Smith Jr, age 57, has been sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 30 years.
Smith was found guilty after a five-day trial in District Court of First-Degree Murder with Use of a Deadly Weapon and Owning or Possessing a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.
On May 22, 2022, officers with the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to reports of several shots fired at the homeless camp on E. Commercial Row near Sutro St., where they found the body of Michael Roach, age 34. The investigation determined that Smith had shot Roach after the two had gotten into an argument the day before about money. During an interview with law enforcement, Smith admitted to killing Roach.
At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Travis Lucia pointed out that Smith had utilized the same gun in an unrelated shooting approximately a month before murdering Roach, and was an ongoing risk to the community based upon his actions in this case and his prior criminal history. The Honorable Judge Walker presided over the trial and imposed the sentence.