A jury has convicted a Philadelphia man for fatally shooting an elderly bicyclist in Camden back in 2021.

28-year-old Maurice Peaker, Jr., now faces life in prison on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the death of 67-year-old Thomas Smith of Camden.

The verdict was returned after a jury trial in Camden County Superior Court.

At around 3:30 on the morning of August 15th, 2021, the Camden County Police Department received a ShotSpotter notification for six rounds being fired in the area of the 1100 block of Kaighn Avenue in Camden.

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Officers responded and located the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds on the sidewalk near Kaighn and Rose. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital where he was pronounced dead less than 45 minutes later.

Kaighn Avenue and Rose Street in Camden NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Kaighn Avenue and Rose Street in Camden NJ - Photo: Google Maps

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 vehicle was located in the parking lot of an apartment building on the 200 block of Oakland Avenue in Audubon. The person operating that car on the morning of the shooting was determined to be Peaker, who was living with his girlfriend at that apartment in Audubon.

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 also say Peaker was captured on surveillance video entering and exiting the apartment building several times on the morning of the shooting.

  • Shortly before 3 AM, he was captured entering the building
  • Less than four minutes later, he exited the building wearing a hat and a mask
  • The Nissan Maxima returned to the apartment building’s parking lot shortly after 3:38 AM, less than 10 minutes after the shooting
  • When Peaker entered the building, he still wearing the hat and mask as well as carrying a tote bag
  • The tote bag that was recovered by detectives and later tested positive for the chemical elements that are characteristic of gunshot residue

Peaker was apprehended in Yeadon, PA, on August 26, 2021, by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Peaker is scheduled to be sentenced on November 10th.

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