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Two drug dealers sentenced to life in prison for murder of federal witness

Samuel “Big Hit” Sherman, 38, of Batesville, and Donald Bill Smith, 38, of Malvern, were both...
Samuel “Big Hit” Sherman, 38, of Batesville, and Donald Bill Smith, 38, of Malvern, were both sentenced on Tuesday with no parole.(piqsels)
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:33 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Two drug dealers will spend the rest of their lives in prison after ‘conspiring to cause witness tampering resulting in death’

Samuel “Big Hit” Sherman, 38, of Batesville, and Donald Bill Smith, 38, of Malvern, were both sentenced on Tuesday with no parole.

A news release states the duo was indicted in Sept. 2019 in connection with the death of Susan Cooper, who had bought meth from Sherman but had begun working as an informant for law enforcement.

In May 2016, Sherman was arrested and charged with selling the meth to Cooper.

As his case progressed, Sherman was released and permitted to work as an informant himself, but he did not provide enough information to help his case, and by Sept. 2016, Sherman learned he was facing a significant federal prison sentence.

Evidence showed that after learning this, Sherman called Smith, who had sold drugs to Susan’s sister-in-law, Rachel Cooper.

During the investigation, cellular data showed Smith drove from Malvern to Batesville, where he stayed for about 40 minutes before returning to Malvern, officials said.

On the way back to Malvern, Smith called Rachel, who had been trying to convince Susan to trade hydrocodone pills for meth, but she was unaware the trade was with Smith.

According to Rachel, Susan was shot during the exchange, as she heard a gunshot followed by Susan crying out, “I’m shot! Get me out of here!” That’s when Rachel jumped in the driver’s seat and saw Smith shoot several more times.

Rachael reportedly hopped into their vehicle and attempted to speed away. Smith was able to pull Susan from the vehicle before the two could leave, shooting Susan several more times, according to officials.

Reports show Susan’s body was not discovered for about a year and a half later, and Smith was charged with murder in July 2018.

Following his arrest, a witness came forward and said Smith had demanded he help bury the body, and the same witness also took agents to the location of Cooper’s body, according to the news release.

In Sept. 2021, both Smith and Sherman were charged with witness tampering resulting in death.

Smith also was charged with drug distribution and firearm possession, and he received an additional 50-year consecutive sentence.

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