Charles J. Smith, an 18-year-old from Cape Girardeau, has been arrested and charged with the murder of Gary Denham, a married father of two who was snuffed out by what Smith alleges was “road rage.” Smith is currently being held on a $250,000 bond.
The Jackson County, Missouri prosecutor’s office released a press statement on the shocking killing, saying:
An 18-year-old Cape Girardeau, MO, man has been charged in the fatal ‘road rage’ shooting of an Oak Grove, MO, man near his home on Interstate 70, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced tonight.
Charles J. Smith, dob: 5/18/2004, faces Murder 2nd Degree, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and two counts of Armed Criminal Action.*
According to court records, Missouri Highway Patrol officers responded to eastbound Interstate 70 near Oak Grove on Wednesday evening on a reported road rage incident. Highway Patrol officers found a green Ford pickup that had crashed into a parked car on the outer road. The driver had been shot once. He later died of his wounds at the hospital. Witnesses described a white Hyundai vehicle that had been involved in an incident with the truck. Highway Patrol responded to sitings of the vehicle and used stop sticks to disable the vehicle. The suspect fled on foot and was eventually apprehended about 9:45 p.m. The defendant told police he had been involved in an incident with the Ford that angered him and he fired a shot. He also admitted he tried to get rid of the gun.
Further, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker issued a specific statement on the horrific case, saying, “The Missouri Highway Patrol worked through the night Wednesday to ensure that the suspect in the shooting on Interstate 70 was apprehended. The community owes them a great thanks. As a result, today we have these charges in a totally needless act of violence with the highest range of punishment available under these facts. A family is now without an husband and father who was everything to them. Our roadways are necessary and busy with other travelers getting to their destinations. They must remain safe. Everyone should take note: take a breath, show some restraint, and let everyone get to their destination safely.”
A GoFundMe created for Gary Denham, the murdered father of two, says:
Gary Denham was sadly murdered by a shooter on I-70 highway in Oak Grove, MO, on April 19, 2023. This unconscionable act has taken the life of an amazing man, husband, father, brother, son, uncle, and friend to many. He had a huge heart and sense of humor, and he was the protector and hard-working provider for his family. Our family is shocked and devastated.
Married for 33 years, his wife called him her “superman” and they had a love and connection everyone envied. Wonderful parents to two sons and strong in their faith, she asks everyone to not focus on division and hate but instead on honoring Gary’s life.
We would like to help her and her boys get through this by easing their financial burden. Gary was the primary source of income and health insurance. She faces a long road of emotional and financial stress.
As this horrific story unfolds, we thank you for honoring Gary’s memory and keeping his family and friends close to your heart. Every donation is sincerely appreciated and goes directly to his widow.
Charles Smith Image Credit: Saline County Sheriff’s Department
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