Woman in trooper-shooting case pleads guilty

May. 02, 2014 @ 05:16 PM

Lyndsey Smith received a split sentence after pleading guilty Friday in Durham County Superior Court to helping her boyfriend evade police after he shot a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper five times during a traffic stop.

Smith was sentenced to 25 to 39 months in prison. She will serve five months in the Durham County Jail beginning in January or February 2015, minus 77 days as credit for time served. The rest of the sentence was suspended, but Smith will be on supervised probation for two years.

Active jail time was delayed so Smith can finish school in Vermont.

She was charged with accessory after the fact to assault with a deadly weapon and harboring a fugitive in connection with the shooting of Michael Potts on Feb. 18, 2013. Potts, who was at Friday’s hearing, was shot twice in the face, once in the right shoulder once in each hand. He returned to work earlier this year.

The gunman, Mikel Edward Brady, pleaded guilty to the shooting and was sentenced in January to a maximum of 24 years in prison.

“I’m very happy with how the judicial system handled this case,” Potts said in an interview after the hearing. “I look forward to moving on with my career.”

After the sentencing, Smith’s attorney handed Potts a letter Smith wrote to him under court order. Potts said he hadn’t had time to read it as of Friday afternoon.

Potts, who had been stationed in Durham, is temporarily working at the patrol’s training academy in Raleigh. He said he’s physically able to return to patrol work, and will await orders on future assignments.

Four of the five bullets that lodged in Potts’ body have been removed. One remains in the back of his head, but he plans to have it taken out soon. He said it’s not creating a problem.

“I’m just glad to be back at work doing what I love to do,” Potts said. “The way everything unfolded has been a blessing.”