Escaped Georgia inmate wanted in Florida homicide is dead, officials say

Georgia News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WSAV) – An escaped Georgia inmate who was wanted in connection to a Florida murder is dead after being on the run since Thursday.

Stephen Michael Smith, 34, of Lagrange died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound late Tuesday evening in Bay County, Florida, officials said. Smith was wanted for murder and for absconding from a work release program.

It all started when Smith, who was serving time for a robbery, failed to return from work in Clayton County on Thursday. The Georgia Department of Corrections issued a statement advising the public to be on the lookout for him.

On Monday, the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office named Smith the suspect of a murder that happened that morning.

Smith was suspected of shooting and killing 30-year-old Daniel Lee Upton of Lakeland in a drug deal gone wrong. Before he lost consciousness, Upton identified Smith as the shooter.

Officials arrested 44-year-old Destiny Jene Terry, who they say helped facilitate contact between Smith and Upton. She is charged with principal to second degree murder.

Destiny Jene Terry, via Gulf County Sheriff’s Office

A $10,000 reward was then issued for information on Smith that led to an arrest.

via Gulf County Sheriff’s Office

On Wednesday morning, the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Smith’s death on their official Facebook page.

According to the post, Smith was spotted late Tuesday night driving west on U.S. Highway 98 in Gulf County. Officers stopped him at an intersection.

“With the vehicle surrounded by law enforcement, Smith immediately placed a pistol to his head and committed suicide,” sheriff’s officials said in the Facebook post.

Smith pulled his car over in Bay County, therefor the Bay County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

The Georgia Department of Corrections confirmed Smith’s death via Twitter on Wednesday morning.

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