Menifee Teen ‘Admits’ to Killing 11-Year-Old Half Brother Whose Body Was Found Buried in Backyard

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Terry Smith

Terry Smith Jr. was found buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of his family home in Murrieta in July 2013.

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A 17-year-old Menifee boy was sentenced in juvenile court on Friday after “admitting” to a voluntary manslaughter charge in the killing of his half brother, according to an official with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

The teen, who is not being named by KTLA because he was charged as a minor, admitted to the manslaughter charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors, spokesman John Hall with the DA’s office said in an email.

Hall added that there are no “guilty” pleas in juvenile court.

The 17-year-old was sentenced to the Division of Juvenile Justice to 11 years in the killing of Terry Smith Jr., whose disappearance in July of last year prompted a massive search effort.

The boy’s body was found four days later buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of the home the half brothers shared with their mother and her partner.

The teen was also sentenced to another year in connection with a separate case, according to Hall.

However, the maximum amount of time he can serve is until the age of 23, Hall added. The equivalent of a parole hearing will be held for the teen in four years, at which time it will be determined whether he should be released or serve out the remaining time.

KTLA’s Scott Wiliams contributed to this report.


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