Gunman enters plea in 2012 Christmas Eve Hattiesburg murder

Gunman enters plea in 2012 Christmas Eve Hattiesburg murder
Chance Smith

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Brookhaven man has entered a blind plea for his role in a 2012 Christmas Eve shooting death of a Hattiesburg man.

Chance Nicholas Smith, 21, entered a blind plea to manslaughter, Friday before Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Bob Helfrich.

Chance was one of four suspects involved in the shooting death of Elester Sartin Jr. 22, of Hattiesburg, at the Pineview Apartments on Country Club Road.

According to Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict, Elester was pronounced dead at Forrest General Hospital, where he died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Chance was arrested Christmas night and charged with murder. In addition, Sartin's brothers, Damian and Marcus were arrested and charged with armed robbery and possession of a controlled substance. The day after Christmas, Semmie Smith, of Brookhaven, was arrested and also charged with murder.

According to police, the motive of the shooting appeared to be a fight between the two sets of brothers something that stemmed from a "drug deal" that was previously being arranged according to Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler.

Semmie Smith, Damian and Marcus Sartin all previously entered blind pleas to a conspiracy charge in the case.

According to Forrest-Perry County District Attorney Patricia Burchell, all the suspects have deferred sentencing until a pre-sentence investigation is completed.