A man from Philadelphia has been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for fatally shooting an elderly bicyclist in Camden in 2021.

Back on August 15th of this year, 29-year-old Maurice Peaker was found guilty of first-degree murder and related weapons charges for the death of 67-year-old Thomas Smith of Camden.

It was during the pre-dawn hours of August 15th, 2021, when the Camden County Police Department received a ShotSpotter alert in the area of the 1100 block of Kaighn Avenue in Camden.

Officers responded and located Smith suffering from gunshot wounds on the sidewalk near the intersection of Kaighn and Rose. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital where he was pronounced dead minutes later.

Kaighn Avenue and Rose Street in Camden NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Kaighn Avenue and Rose Street in Camden NJ - Photo: Google Maps
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Detectives reviewed surveillance video from the area and determined that Smith was shot as he crossed Kaighn Avenue on a bicycle by an individual in a passing vehicle. The vehicle was found to be a 2000 Nissan Maxima with damage to the passenger side taillight. Detectives tracked the vehicle through Camden both before and after the shooting. The vehicle was captured by an automated license plate reader and the license plate was identified.

That Nissan was later located in the parking lot of an apartment building in Audubon and the person behind the wheel was identified was Peaker, who was living with his girlfriends at that apartment complex.

The Nissan Maxima was searched and detectives located a shell casing in the vehicle that was the same caliber and manufacturer as the five shell casings recovered at the scene of the shooting. Ballistic testing later confirmed all six shell casings were discharged in the same firearm.

Authorities say Peaker was captured on surveillance video entering and exiting that apartment building several times on the morning of the shooting, including one time when he was seen wearing a hat and mask and carrying a tote bag. That tote bag later tested positive for gunshot residue.

Days later, Peaker was apprehended in Yeadon, PA, by the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Cold Cases: South Jersey's Unsolved Murders & Mysteries

Gallery Credit: Eddie Davis

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