Due in court: Man accused of conspiring to kill a witness to a homicide

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Antonio Smith

Antonio Smith

MILWAUKEE — 33-year-old Antonio Smith is expected to appear in a Milwaukee County Courtroom to enter his pleas to charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide.

Smith is one of four people accused of conspiring to kill a witness to a homicide. The others include Lorenzo Beaton, Shaheem Smith and Shantrell Lyons.

The others face charges including felony bail jumping, possession of a firearm by a felon, fleeing or eluding an officer, conspiracy to commit possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and keeping a drug house.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced in a news conference last week that the work of the victim protection agency foiled this alleged plot.

This story began after Antonio Smith was already in jail — charged in connection with the July 11th murder of Eddie Powe.

Scene of shooting that killed Eddie Powe

Scene of shooting that killed Eddie Powe

Officials say Smith continued to commit crimes from inside the Milwaukee County Jail — running a drug business and even plotting to kill a witness to the murder.

That witness, Joe Spivey, was also in jail on a weapons violation, but officials say Smith’s conspirators bailed Spivey out, so that they could kill him.

Just moments before Spivey was released, the victim witness protection investigators interceded and took him to safety.

“Because of the incredible work of the agencies involved, we were able to prevent a homicide from occurring,” Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said.

Smith’s attorney, Daniel Sanders, says his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

There is another layer to this story, and it involves the murder of 17-year-old Breanna Eskridge.

Breanna Eskridge

Breanna Eskridge

Eskridge was killed a short time after Eddie Powe — and Powe was Eskridge’s boyfriend.

Officials say Breanna Eskridge, in addition to Spivey, witnessed the fatal shooting of Powe.

Investigators continue to work to determine who shot and killed Eskridge. No one has been charged in connection with her death.