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16-year-old accused of killing Musa Tawfiq Musa in Racine last year likely will face a jury

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RACINE — A teen facing allegations he killed a man and then bragged about having “one under his belt” was in Racine County Circuit Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

Anthony E. Smith, who will turn 17 on Friday, June 8, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of Musa Tawfiq Musa, who was 44 years old at the time of his death last year.

The defendant was also charged with endangering safety by reckless use of a firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under the age of 18 years old.

Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch found there was sufficient evidence to send the matter forward for trial. An arraignment was scheduled for July 14 at 9 a.m.

Death of Musa Tawfiq Musa

The Racine Police Department's Major Crimes Unit van was seen on Aug. 24 near where a shooting was reported in the area of LaSalle and English streets. A 44-year-old man, Musa Tawfiq Musa, was fatally shot on that day; Anthony E. Smith Jr., 16, has been charged in connection with Musa's death.

Case history

The Racine Police Department responded to the 1900 block of LaSalle Avenue on Aug. 24, 2021 on a report of shots fired. At the scene officers found the gunshot victim, who was transported to the hospital but did not survive the shooting.

During the course of the investigation, officers learned there had been a confrontation between Musa’s son and another party near the Musa home.

According to the criminal complaint, while at Wells Fargo Bank following the confrontation, a vehicle with the subject from the dispute drove past. Musa told his son to walk home while he (Musa) allegedly followed the vehicle from the bank.

Aaron Herrick, 24, who is a co-defendant in the case, was allegedly driving the suspect vehicle. According to the criminal complaint, Herrick reportedly said he “couldn’t shake” Musa, pulled over, and allegedly told Smith to give Musa “a quick three” — meaning to shoot him thrice.

Later, Smith was allegedly heard bragging about “having a body” and “one under his belt” following the shooting.

Co-defendant

Herrick is charged with first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime, possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver, possession of a narcotic with the intent to deliver, and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A status hearing in the Herrick case is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 15.

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Reporter

Dee Hölzel has been reporting since 1999 and joined the Journal Times in October 2020. Dee graduated with an MA in History from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, specializing in the intersection of history and journalism.

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Laura Ann Walker, the attorney for the teen against whom charges were dropped, told the Journal Times it appeared a witness had been untruthful in identifying her client as being involved in the crime. The prosecutor then "did what she is supposed to do as a prosecutor and that is to speak the truth,” Walker said. “So kudos to her.” However, Walker did express concern about the rush to charge her client. “I wish they would spend more time investigating prior to issuing the criminal complaint."

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