Urbana man charged with murder in June shooting

By Chicago 4 Min Read

URBANA — Urbana police have arrested a man in the fatal shooting of another man in that city more than two months ago.

Sidney A. Smith, 45, no address given, is being held in the Champaign County Jail in lieu of $4 million bond in the June 30 shooting death of Eddie Williams Jr. in a dispute over an alleged theft.

Mr. Williams, 51, was found dead in a parking lot in the 1300 block of Silver Street about 3:45 p.m. that Friday. He had been shot in the neck. His was the third homicide of the year in Urbana.

An Urbana police report said because of a power outage, there were several people outside the apartments. A witness saw Mr. Williams punch Eric Nash, 45, in the mouth during an argument. Then, another person was seen approaching Mr. Williams. The witness heard shots then saw a person head to a nearby apartment and throw a gun toward Nash.

As officers were responding to the shooting, they were called by Smith, who then lived in another apartment building in that block. Smith, who was intoxicated, told police he arrived back at his apartment and found his door kicked open and several electronic items stolen but denied going outside and getting into a dispute with anyone.

Officers saw a shoe print on his door, which matched the shoes Mr. Williams was wearing. A witness later reported seeing Mr. Williams going into Smith’s apartment while Smith was gone.

Nash told police that about 30 minutes after the shooting, he and another man were in a nearby apartment when Smith brought a gun to him, and he hid it. Armed with a search warrant, police found a black revolver and a box of ammunition for it. Two casings were missing from the cylinder.

Nash was then arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. He remains in the county jail in lieu of $250,000 bond and is due back in court again Oct. 17.

The state crime lab later confirmed that Smith’s fingerprint was on the box of ammunition and that the bullet recovered from Mr. Williams matched test shots fired from the revolver that Nash had hidden.

The police report also said Smith later admitted to a relative that he had killed a man who kicked in his door and was having trouble sleeping because of it.

Police arrested Smith on Wednesday afternoon on a warrant when he came to the courthouse for a status hearing on a pending case on charges of aggravated driving under the influence that was filed in December 2022.

A search of his vehicle turned up a handgun that had been reported stolen from Indiana. He was charged in a separate case Wednesday with allegedly possessing that gun as well as failing to register as a sex offender in June.

Smith has several prior convictions reaching back to 1995 including aggravated criminal sexual abuse, unlawful possession of a gun, unlawful use of a gun, assault, delivery of a controlled substance, aggravated driving under the influence, aggravated battery, failure to register as a sex offender and driving under revocation.

Judge Brett Olmstead ordered that his bond remain at $4 million on the murder charge and set it at $100,000 on the separate case for possession of a weapon and failure to register as a sex offender. Smith is due back in court Oct. 17.

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