Alaska State Troopers release new information on Fairbanks homicide

Published: Sep. 26, 2020 at 5:11 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -Peter Horace-Wright was allegedly shot to death last year by Ryder Alan Smith at his father’s towing shop, Badger Towing in Fairbanks.

In a story we aired last week, Horace-Wright’s mother, Bernadette Demientieff, called for Ryder Smith’s father, Robert Smith, to be held accountable because Ryder called him after the shooting.

According to new information from Alaska State Trooper Al Bell, the phone call between Ryder Smith and Robert Smith was one minute and 23 seconds. This phone call came around 9 minutes after Horace-Wright began recording from his cell phone and after the shooting. Twenty-five to thirty seconds after Ryder Smith got off the phone with his father, Ryder called the Troopers.

“He was telling his dad within a minute and 23 seconds, ‘alright dad, I’ll call the police right now,’ because his dad was telling him to call the police,” Bell explained. “I can’t hear his dad, but he kept saying 'alright, alright, alright I’ll call them, I’ll call the police right now. ' Then he hung up the phone and then within 25 [to] 30 seconds he called the Troopers.”

“Just so we cleared it up, the dad didn’t know what was going on anyhow," Bell went on. “I mean he was just waking up from out of his sleep.”

According to Trooper Bell, Ryder Smith also claimed self-defense to his dad.

“He basically told his dad he had to protect himself and ‘he attacked me’.” Bell said.

According to charging documents from the case, at 5:11 a.m. on the morning of November 14, 2019 Ryder Smith told 911 operators that Horace-Wright was an intruder and he shot him during a burglary in process.

During the interview with investigators, he said he had met Horace-Wright two hours before the shooting, had invited him to his father’s shop, then Horace-Wright started strangling him before he grabbed his gun.

Upon investigation by Troopers, a different story was discovered after a cell phone was recovered from the scene with a recording, mostly audio of the incident.

Troopers said in the video Ryder Smith can be seen holding a shotgun and walking towards Horace-Wright’s vehicle. Horace-Wright can be heard telling Ryder, “This is live. Don’t this is live.” Ryder Smith can be seen saying he doesn’t care and firing his shotgun, hitting Horace-Wright’s vehicle.

Troopers said Ryder turns in the direction of Horace-Wright telling him to leave. At this point Horace-Wright drops the phone but it continues to capture audio.

Shoes can be heard squeaking along with collisions with objects in the shop. After several seconds, the first shot can be heard, and Horace-Wright began to scream. Two seconds later another shot, and three seconds later a third shot. Ten seconds elapsed and the final shot was heard as Horace-Wright continued to scream and plead for a period of time.

After around nine minutes, audio can be heard when Ryder Smith calls his father Robert Smith. Then 25 to 30 seconds later, Troopers say Ryder Smith calls 911.

Trooper Bell says even if people know about crimes, they have no legal obligation to report them. “[In] the state of Alaska we really don’t have a law saying that you have to contact the police in regards to criminal activity. You can do it if you like, but there is no punishment for not advising of something that you saw, witnessed or heard,” Bell said. “Some people are afraid, they don’t want to be involved.”

Bernadette Demientieff, Horace-Wright’s mother, responded to Bell’s comment.

“Of course there are a lot of things that people don’t have to do but [there’s] doing the right thing,” Demientieff said." You know we never had an apology from the [Smith] family and with the history that Ryder has, I want answers as to why he was even around a gun. We deserve answers. He has terrorized many, many people and was never held accountable -- and now look what happened."

KTVF was not able to independently listen to or watch the video/audio recording captured from the phone. Our information has been sourced from the Alaska State Troopers' charging documents as well as interviews with law enforcement.

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