Detectives arrest teenage suspect in high school football coach’s murder

MIAMI – Miami-Dade detectives arrested a teenage suspect in the murder of the 46-year-old Miami Senior High School head football coach. He was killed at his West Little River home on Monday.

According to Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, the arrest of the suspect in Corey Smith’s murder was on Thursday.

A relative at Smith’s home confirmed on Thursday night that a teenage boy was arrested in his murder, which made the crime all the more tragic.

Smith had worked for Miami-Dade County Public Schools since 1999. While coaching children and teenagers, he developed a reputation as a mentor who helped to propel players to have college football and NFL careers.

Zabaleta said on Monday detectives questioned a 15-year-old boy who was in the home when Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel found Smith dead.

On Tuesday, officers identified the boy as the son of Lamar Alexander, a suspect in a Coral Gables jewelry store burglary, kidnapping and chase that ended with a Dec. 5 shootout in Miramar. Alexander, 41, and three others died that day.

At the time, Smith told Local 10 News that Alexander was his brother and “He just made bad decisions in life and it cost him his.”

On Wednesday, detectives continued to focus on the evidence at Smith’s home, but they were gone by Thursday night.

The teen appeared in court Friday and will remain in juvenile detention until at least his next hearing on Oct. 15 when the state will decide whether to charge him as an adult. He is facing charges of second-degree murder and grand theft.

An attorney present for Friday’s hearing said the teen has been found incompetent four different times in the past two years.

“The State Atty’s Office is seeking to direct file this child. Per statute, that’s within their discretion. I am hopeful that, because the State is aware of this child’s prior psychological history, the State Atty Office will do the right thing and keep this case in the juvenile division," attorney Rod Vereen said in a statement. "The family, admittedly, does not know the facts or what occurred here, other than the limited statement allegedly made by an incompetent child. What is a fact, is that the family has been seeking help for this child for years and somehow this child, like many others, fell through the cracks. The family has hired me to seal those cracks and help get this child the help he needs and see that he is treated fairly by the criminal justice and properly represented, no matter what the allegations.”

Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Emily Hales contributed to this report.

About the Authors: