Two Men Convicted Of Birmingham Murder
6th May 2016
Two men have today been found guilty of shooting dead a Birmingham teenager following a dispute over a £50 bag of cannabis.
Connor Smith was shot dead in the Hawkesley area on 8 October 2015 after Leon Frye, of Rodney Close and Philip Baillie, of Forde Way Gardens clashed with Smith and his friends in an alleyway near Baillie's home.
Connor was upset after the bag of drugs, which belonged to him and a friend, was stolen by Frye (27) and Baillie (28) at gunpoint earlier on the 8th October.
This initiated a series of escalating confrontations between 19-year-old Connor and his friends and Frye and Baillie which culminated with the two groups facing off in an alley close to Baillie's home.
As the opposing sides confronted each other Frye reached for a gun he had taken with him. Connor reacted quickly and tried to stop him, managing to stab Frye in the stomach before being shot twice. Both groups then fled while Connor was left to die at the scene.
A post-mortem examination found that he suffered one gunshot wound to his left arm and a second to the left side of his chest.
Frye (left)and Baillie (right) were arrested from the address of an associate at a remote location close to Coventry in the days following the murder.
After a five week trial at Birmingham Crown Court Frye was found guilty of murder, two counts of possession of a firearm and robbery.
Baillie was found guilty of robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm and manslaughter.
The pair will be sentenced on Tuesday.
A third man, Marcus Jones, aged 27, of Gildas Avenue, was found not guilty of all charges.
Detective Inspector Warren Hines, from Force CID, said: "It is such a waste that Connor has lost his life over such a trivial dispute between the two groups.
"This case demonstrates how incredibly dangerous it is to carry a gun on our streets, guns are designed to kill and they usually do. There is no place in society for those who chose to arm themselves with firearms. As a result of this incident a young man has lost his life and two others are now facing a considerable spell behind bars.
"Connor was just a teenager with his whole life ahead of him and that has been cruelly taken away, my thoughts are with his family and friends."
West Midlands Police is committed to tackling gun crime offences in Birmingham and anyone found to be carrying a gun will face a minimum of five years behind bars.
Det Insp Hines added: "The public are our eyes and ears in our communities and we would ask anyone with information about people carrying guns to get in touch with us in confidence. By working together we can help to rid the streets of these deadly weapons and the people who carry them."