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Dispute with woman outside West Palm home preceded fatal shooting

NEW: Man reportedly broke into 2017 Boynton homicide victim’s home minutes after shooting


Minutes after Curtisia Courtney Smith was fatally shot outside a Boynton Beach convenience store, Jervaughn Ewell broke into her home about two blocks away and stole thousands of dollars worth of clothing and electronics, according to 2017 police records and Smith’s mother. 

Ewell, 21, of Boynton Beach was booked Thursday into the Palm Beach County Jail on burglary and larceny charges, nearly 1 ½ years after the alleged break-in. He was being there Monday in lieu of $8,000 bail, records show. 

Smith, a 26-year-old budding photographer and beloved daycare worker, was shot at point-blank range late April 5, 2017, outside Z Food Meat Market on North Seacrest Boulevard, north of West Boynton Beach Boulevard. Smith, who went by “Courtney,” died 12 days later.

City police said Monday that they do not believe Ewell was involved in Smith’s killing. 

Smith’s friends called her mother, Jacqualine Smith, not long after Smith was shot and told the elder Smith that someone had broken into her daughter’s home on Northeast 12th Avenue. The mother called police shortly before 1 a.m. April 6, 2017, to report the allegations. 

When authorities went to the home, records state that they noticed the front door was “unsecured” and a window was broken.

Smith’s mother later reported that about $1,000 in electronics, $2,000 in clothing and $1,500 in shoes were taken.

Authorities found a butter knife with a bent tip on the staircase near the broken window, which also had blood drops on it. More blood was on the tile and outside the home, police records state. 

In July, crime-scene investigators determined the blood was Ewell’s. Smith told authorities she didn’t recognize Ewell and didn’t know why he would have been in her daughter’s home.

MORE: Man broke into cars in Boynton armed with brass knuckles, stun gun

Meanwhile, Ewell had been arrested in other Boynton Beach burglaries, to which he later pleaded guilty. 

While he was in jail for those cases, authorities obtained a search warrant for his DNA, and in April, investigators confirmed his DNA matched what was found at Smith’s home.

As of Monday, the investigation into Smith’s killing remains open, police said.

Authorities arrested Roderick Taylor hours after Smith died on charges connected to the “targeted attack” against her. Taylor, known as “Rat Mike,” remains in custody facing a second-degree murder charge. His next court appearance is scheduled for October. 

A few days after Taylor’s arrest, police picked up a man who they claimed was the gunman. However, police dropped the case against him fewer than 12 hours after his arrest “out of an abundance of caution,” citing “exculpatory evidence.” Authorities have not elaborated on what that evidence is. 

MORE: Charges dropped against accused gunman in Boynton murder

No one else has been arrested in Smith’s death, although police records indicate at least one other person was involved.

Smith’s mother founded the nonprofit Justice4Courtney after her daughter’s death in the hopes of addressing bullying, which she believes motivated her daughter’s killing.

Court records show Smith endured months of harassment from a former neighbor, including being attacked in her car, terrorized at her home and threatened at gunpoint.

MORE: Woman killed in Boynton Beach feared for her life

She had a restraining order against her former neighbor and that person’s family, who she said harassed her. The Post is not naming the woman because police have not publicly linked her to Smith’s killing.

Anyone with information about Courtney Smith’s death is urged to contact Boynton Beach police detective Midian Diaz at 561-732-8116 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-TIPS (8477). Tips also can be submitted through the MyPD app or www.bbpd.org.

Smith’s mother has been raising money to put toward a reward for information leading to arrests in her daughter’s homicide. Donations can be made online at www.gofundme.com/Jackie-Justice4Courtney.



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