ST. LOUIS – A Florissant man accused of killing his neighbor in September 2015 reached a plea deal on the case Tuesday, in exchange for a 20-year sentence.
Peter Chafin, 48, admitted to shooting Dominic Smith with a shotgun in the 4200 block of Delor Street, located in the Bevo neighborhood. Smith was 36.
Chafin went on trial in April 2022 for first-degree murder and armed criminal action, but the jury was deadlocked and could not return a unanimous verdict. During the trial, Chafin said he felt Smith was a threat to him and his family. The prosecutor at the time called the murder an act of vigilantism.
Detectives said Chafin put Smith’s body in an instrument bag for a double bass and dumped it into the Mississippi River. Chafin then encased the murder weapon in a concrete block and left that near the intersection of South Broadway and Nagel Avenue.
Smith’s body was discovered that same month after becoming snagged on a barge. Investigators identified Smith after releasing photos of his tattoos to the public.
Ultimately, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office agreed to reduce Chafin’s murder charge in exchange for a guilty plea.
Chafin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. The judge immediately handed down the sentence, saying he would get six years of time served since his initial arrest.
However, this sentence will run concurrently to whatever term Chafin receives for a separate murder trial in St. Louis County.
Chafin faces a first-degree murder charge for the December 2016 strangulation death of his then-wife, Kiera Chafin.