CAROLINE CROSSROADS Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
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Caroline investigator honored by U.S. Attorney’s Office


Caroline County Investigator Mac Ellet was recently honored with the Public Service Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond.

This award is given to law enforcement officers who have partnered with federal and state agencies, contributing extraordinary efforts towards the successful arrest and conviction of a serious crime.

Ellet’s Public Service Award was based on his extensive involvement in what was locally known as the “Penola Murders.”

Ellet spent nearly four years working on the case until six convictions were made this year.

The case began on May 24, 2007, when two young men—22-year-old Willie Donyelle Smith and 23-year-old Jamal Nasir, both of Richmond—were found dead in the trunk of a 1995 Lexus belonging to Nasir, parked on Penola Road in Caroline.

A woman had called 911 after seeing the unfamiliar car in her driveway.

Ellet’s persistence paid off after about two years when he received a major tip.

The new information led to the arrest of Levon Jermaine Smith, who confessed to his involvement in the murders and provided information leading to the identity of four others who were also involved.

In the end, six people pleaded guilty in federal court.

Adam White was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison, India Smith was sentenced to 30 years, Levon Smith was sentenced to 40 years, Sheppard Thomas III was sentenced to 45 years, Kevin Coleman was sentenced to 50 years, and Joseph Smith, described as the ringleader, received a life sentence.

“The FBI would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of both the DEA and Caroline County Sherriff’s Office in bringing this case to a successful conclusion, and in doing so making the Richmond community a safer place to live,” said Michael Morehart, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division.

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