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Deaf sniper in Palmdale attact receives 21 years

July 29, 2007

Convicted killer fired at dealership


LANCASTER – A deaf convicted killer was sentenced Friday to 21 years in prison for a sniper attack on sheriff’s deputies at a Lancaster car dealership last year.

Val Smith, 37, lived in an apartment within sight of the dealership where more than a dozen shots were fired the night of Jan. 6 by someone with a semiautomatic rifle.

Authorities believe the first shot was fired into the Mazda dealership showroom window to lure deputies, who arrived in force. Then, after most of the deputies left, the snipers fired at least a dozen shots at three remaining deputies, standing in the sales lot. No one was hit.

Smith was convicted in June of assault and shooting at the dealership and a car. Prosecutors at that time said they intended to try him later for shooting at the deputies after the trial of Smith’s co-defendant.

On Friday, Smith pleaded no contest to an additional count of assault on a peace officer with a firearm and was sentenced to the 21-year sentence, of which he has to serve 85 percent.

Had Smith not entered a plea Friday, he would have been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison and faced the possibility of life in prison had he been convicted in a second trial of attempting  to murder deputies.

A pretrial hearing for co-defendant Samuel Martinez, 20, is set for August. 

Smith previously served time in prison for a 1992 killing at a Van Nuys apartment.


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