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'His own blood': Wife remembers Brown County man officials say was killed by nephew

Jay Smith
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 00:01:02-04

MOUNT ORAB, Ohio — A family man, veteran of the Marine Corps and an all-around good guy — that’s how the family of 76-year-old Jay Smith wants him to be remembered.

According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, dispatch received a call from 5040 State Route 286 consisting of an open line with screaming in the background. When deputies arrived, witnesses told them Smith had been shot.

The Sheriff's Office said a deputy found Smith suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen in a camper. He was taken to Clermont Mercy Hospital, but died before he arrived.

Sylvia Johnson-Smith, Smith's wife of 24 years, said she’s still in disbelief.

“He was a good guy. He was a man. He took care of his business and family, and whoever else he could help out,” Johnson-Smith said. “He didn’t deserve that. Did not deserve that.”

Witnesses on the scene told deputies the person responsible for the shooting was 64-year-old Sherman Smith IV, Smith's nephew. The Sheriff's Office said Sherman Smith IV confessed to shooting his uncle and attempted to shoot another uncle, Ervin Smith. Officials said he fired one round at Ervin Smith but missed.

“He killed my husband. His own nephew. His own blood,” Johnson-Smith said.

Johnson-Smith said she has no idea what led up to her husband’s death. She said he was cleaning out the camper for what was supposed to be a fun summer.

“Used to like to go to the country that his mom and dad left him," she said. "He’d sit out, go out and walk the fields by himself, take the tractor out there and ride on out. He liked to fish a bit."

Johnson-Smith is remembering the man who served during the Vietnam War for his passion and hard work. She said she is still grappling with the fact law enforcement believes a family member did it.

“Nothing I can say to him. Ever," Johnson-Smith said. "He took my husband. What can I say to him? What can I say? He killed my husband."

Sherman Smith is being held at the Brown County Jail. Other charges are possible.

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