Cold Case Cracked as Prosecutors Secure Murder Plea

by Submitted News

A Wilmington man has been convicted in a nearly four-year-long cold case.

On May 15, Dashawn Daley, 29, of Wilmington pleaded guilty to Murder 2nd Degree, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. This conviction follows an investigation into the fatal 2019 shooting of then 29-year-old Hakeem Smalls.

“I am grateful for the hard work of our team and the Wilmington Police Department,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Thanks to their dedication and persistence, justice is being served at long last. May it bring some peace to the victim’s family and loved ones.”

“This guilty plea represents the culmination of our efforts to deliver justice for the victim’s family,” said Chief Wilfredo Campos. “I appreciate both the original investigating detective as well as members of our Cold Case Unit, who assisted with bringing our investigation to a close and ensuring the suspect will be held accountable.”

On September 27, 2019, Daley robbed Hakeem Smalls at gunpoint in the area of 25th and Monroe Streets in Wilmington. Daley stole a .380 pistol that Smalls had legally purchased a few weeks prior, then shot him twice before fleeing the scene. Smalls was taken to Christiana Hospital where he died of his wounds.

Daley’s plea also resolves a Violation of Probation that was pending at the time of his arrest for this crime in August of 2023.  He is currently projected to face sentencing in June 2024, where he will face a minimum of 18 years in prison, up to life plus 25 years.

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