Johnny Drummond Smith knew he was innocent and so did the sister of a victim listed in a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office domestic violence report.
“That guy has no business being in jail,” said Mocquita L. Jackson, 25. “He don’t know her. Period.”
All charges were dropped against the 38-year-old Barron Collier football defensive coordinator and Collier County School District teacher, the Daily News discovered Friday afternoon after flying to Jacksonville and requesting to speak with the prosecutor assigned to the case.
Shortly thereafter, the school district confirmed the case was closed and allowed Smith to return to work.
After being arrested Monday in Collier County on a year-old fugitive from justice warrant and spending two days in jail, Smith is back where he was a week ago: teaching and coaching kids.
His name was cleared in time for him to coach in his team’s Class 3A regional quarterfinal against South Fort Myers High School Friday.
The Cougars lost 48-21, a game in which Barron’s defense gave up almost 500 yards to South.
Smith declined an interview request after the game, but Barron Collier head coach Mark Ivey said he wasn’t sure how the case affected his players.
“I don’t know that it was (a distraction), I don’t know that it wasn’t,” Ivey said. “Would we have liked to have had coach Smith at practice? Yes. That’s where he should have been all week. That’s where he deserved to be. But, did that change the outcome of the football game? I don’t know if it did or not.”
Assistant State Attorney Phyllis Wiley, who works domestic battery cases, said she received the case Thursday and couldn’t contact the victim or Jackson. So, the case was closed.
“He has no case with us,” Wiley said. “No charges. Nothing.”
Later, after a day of trying to reach Jackson and her sister, the reported victim Shayla S. Evans, 25, Jackson gave an explanation for the debacle. Jackson said she believes her sister was protecting her boyfriend.
“She didn’t want her boyfriend Laquan to go to jail, that’s the point,” Jackson said. “So, obviously, she had to make up a name, and whatever picture popped up on that name that she gave them, that’s who she said the guy was.”
As it turns out, Ivey may have called it when he said Wednesday that Smith’s common name could be the culprit.
After spending a week coming to the defense of Smith in the press, Ivey was pleased to have the issue behind him.
“It was absolutely great to have (Smith) back,” Ivey said. “It was a travesty what happened to him this week. I hope we never have to be without him again.”
Jackson said she believed Evans just threw out the common name and then pointed to Smith in a photo line-up.
“I guess she made up that name or whatever, and it popped up on a computer and I guess she said that was the guy,” Jackson said. “That’s when I heard the police say that they were going to put out a warrant but I thought they was just joking around, you know what I’m saying, because I’m like, ‘How can they put out a warrant if she’s not scratched up?”
According to the Nov. 13, 2008 report, Evans, who Jackson said did not want to comment for this story, was visited at her apartment by Smith. Evans told police that she and Smith had a one-year relationship, but hadn’t been together for four months.
She said Smith smacked her and dragged her down a set of stairs and into a parking lot where he kicked and punched her, then slashed at her with a knife, the report said.
The report also said Jackson saw the whole thing. On Friday, Jackson denied seeing it or even speaking to the responding officer.
“I didn’t see a guy jump on her, especially not by that name,” Jackson said. “She has a boyfriend and his name is Laquan.”
Jackson was arrested just shy of a year later, on Nov. 10 for beating Laquan Rivera, 22, with a golf club, according to another Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office report.
In the report, Jackson said she was angry with her sister’s boyfriend because he took a check card.
However, the report said Jackson denied hitting Rivera, even though officers found a golf club in the back seat of her car with markings similar to those left on Rivera. Rivera could not be reached for comment.
It’s still not known why Smith said he was not contacted by authorities concerning the warrant that had been active for a year.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike McCall said when asked if officers had contacted Smith that he would try to set up an interview with the responding officer, but was unable to late Friday.
“At this time, I’m still going to wait until I can contact the officers, because I don’t know,” McCall said of the allegations leveled by Jackson.
The attorney who issued the warrant for Smith is no longer with the 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s office, Wiley said.
Smith said Thursday he wouldn’t discuss any possibility of receiving a judgment related to the situation.