Man to be tried third time for same murder

KINGMAN - Judge Robert Moon on April 28 set a new trial date for Chip Moray Smith of Golden Valley for 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 5 and a status hearing was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on June 30.

This will be the third time Smith will have been tried on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 13, 2001, death of Chris Payton, 30, of Golden Valley.

County Prosecutor Josh Ackerman and Defense Attorney Vincent Iannone agreed the third trial should not take as long as the first two.

The first trial, according to Ackerman, lasted two weeks and the second trial went on for nearly three weeks.

According to court records, Smith's first trial ended in a hung jury in March 2003, and the second trial ended with Smith being sentenced on Oct. 17, 2003, to 22 years in prison without parole.

He appealed the conviction due to what he called the improper removal of a juror by Judge Richard Weiss after the juror admitted he was considering the punishment in his decision.

The Arizona Court of Appeals found fault with the removal of the juror, set aside Smith's conviction and sentence, and sent the case back to the Mohave County Superior Court.

At Iannone's request, Moon granted an additional $5,000 for the special investigator working on the case.