Two men charged in Oct. 2019 Jennings homicide


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CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged two men Monday in connection with an Oct. 2019 homicide. The suspects join a third defendant in the case who was arrested at the time of the killing.

The shooting happened around 1 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2019, on Strathmore Place near West Florissant.

According to investigators, Caleb Smith was chased down and shot in an alley just off Strathmore. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 17.

St. Louis County Police arrested 19-year-old Deryon Thomas near the scene. The following day, Thomas was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

However, two additional suspects were unaccounted for.

Investigators were able to unravel the case through the suspects’ use of social media.

Deryon Thomas

According to Officer Tracy Panus, a county police spokeswoman, Thomas was on Facebook Live in a stolen maroon Chrysler minutes before the shooting. Another man, 26-year-old Jalen Simms, was seen on Facebook Live in the same stolen car just before the shooting. Simms’ phone also put him at the scene of the shooting.

Police eventually found the stolen Chrysler and discovered Simms’ cellphone had been connected to the vehicle’s wireless system.

Panus said Simms made numerous statements on Facebook about being involved in the murder with Thomas and a third man, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Williams.

Williams was seen on surveillance video from the day of the shooting running away from the scene on foot with Thomas. Williams phone not only put him at the scene of the crime, but witnesses also identified him as one of the shooters.

Williams and Simms were both charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

All three men—Thomas, Williams, and Simms—remain jailed on a $1 million cash-only bond.

Christopher Williams and Jalen Simms.

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