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Idaho man sentenced to 26 years for accessory to murder in 18-year-old’s killing

Crime Watch

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From left: Nichlas Vandenberg, 28, of Melba fired the shots and was sentenced in August, Morgan Reed (center), 21, of Twin Falls awaits sentencing, and Willie Rabey (right), 35, of Mountain Home was sentenced Friday | Idaho Statesman

MOUNTAIN HOME (Idaho Statesman) – A district judge on Friday sentenced Willie Rabey to 26 years in prison for his role in the killing of 18-year-old hitchhiker Hunter Smith in 2017.

Rabey, 35, of Mountain Home, pleaded guilty in February to accessory to first-degree murder, evidence destruction and failure to notify of a death. Smith’s body was found in the desert of eastern Owyhee County by hunters on Oct. 21, 2017.

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Third Judicial District Judge Davis VanderVelde in Owyhee County ordered that Rabey could be eligible for parole after 11 years are served, according to online court records. Rabey will be credited for the time he already served in jail since his arrest.

Rabey’s co-defendant, Nicholas Vandenberg, 28, of Melba, fired the shots that killed Smith, and he was sentenced in August to 30 years to life in prison for first-degree murder.

A third co-defendant in the case, Montanna Reed, 21, of Twin Falls, awaits sentencing after she pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and failure to notify authorities of a death.

Prosecutors previously said the trio befriended Smith and then invited him to shoot guns. The group planned to commit other criminal acts in the future, including murder, the charging documents alleged.

Vandenberg shot Smith at close range in the upper torso and face/head with a .45-caliber pistol, prosecutors said. Reed and Rabey reportedly watched the killing, and then helped Vandenberg drag the body to a nearby ditch. Smith’s clothes were burned.

Reed is set for sentencing on Dec. 18 in Owyhee County.

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