Javon Smith sentenced to 20 years in prison for Topeka cold case killing of 18-year-old Kianna Hodge

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Javon Amond Smith, 20, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for crimes that included second-degree murder in the 2017 gunshot killing of Kianna Cherise Hodges, shown here.
Javon Amond Smith, 20, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for crimes that included second-degree murder in the 2017 gunshot killing of Kianna Cherise Hodges, shown here.

Shawnee County District Judge Bill Ossmann sentenced a Topeka man to 20 years in prison Thursday for crimes linked to the March 2017 shooting death in southeast Topeka of 18-year-old Kianna Cherise Hodge.

Javon A. Smith, 20, received that sentence on convictions for second-degree murder and the criminal discharge of a weapon into an occupied vehicle, said Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay.

"Members of the Hodge family were in attendance at the hearing and were relieved to see the sentence imposed and to finally see justice for a case they feared had been forgotten by others," he said.

Shawnee County District Court records show Smith pleaded guilty to those crimes Oct. 26 in exchange for the dismissal of other charges linked to a March 4, 2017, incident that included the killing of Hodge.

Kagay said Topeka police were called late that evening to the scene of the shooting, committed by a man who had been on foot at S.E. 23rd and Bellview, of three men and two women in two separate vehicles, including Hodge.

Law enforcement found 53 shell casings at the intersection, all 7.62 caliber, Kagay said.

The case remained unsolved for three years, he said.

Then, in 2020, a new development was discovered during a cold case review meeting between Kagay, Topeka police homicide detectives, the cold case investigator from Kagay's office and senior prosecutors from that office, Kagay said.

"Based on this new information, law enforcement moved quickly to finalize the case and charges were filed in November of 2020," Kagay said.

Smith was 16 at the time of the killing but was prosecuted as an adult.

He pleaded guilty Oct. 26 to second-degree murder and the criminal discharge of a weapon into an occupied vehicle in exchange for the dismissal of charges of four counts of aggravated battery, one count of the criminal discharge of a weapon into an occupied vehicle and an alternative count of second-degree murder, according to court records.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Brandon Farnham, Kagay said.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Topekan sentenced to 20 years in prison for 2017 fatal shooting

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