A Fairbanks man has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence, each a felony.
Troopers arrested Ryder Alan Smith, 22, at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to an Alaska State Trooper news release. Smith was arrested in connection with the November killing of a man whose body was found at a commercial property off Peger Road. The body of Peter Horace-Wright, 24, was found when troopers responded to a report of a shooting at the site shortly after 5 a.m. Nov. 14.
Smith, at his arraignment at the Fairbanks courthouse Friday, pleaded not guilty to both counts through his defense attorney. A preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 16 at 3:15 p.m. Bail will be established when the defendant's conditions of release are set.
Several of the victim’s family members, including the victim's mother, attended the arraignment. The judge invited them to say a few words.
“This young man has shown absolutely no remorse. Our family, especially my children, have been living under a lot of stress and anxiety,” the mother said tearfully.
The victim’s mother went on to say that the defendant’s “excessive” criminal history has the family “very worried.”
“We’re never going to have another holiday with him (my son). The way that he so brutally murdered my son, I just ask that you do not let him out,” she added.
Interrupting, the defendant said, “Yeah well, if he never attacked me, it would have never went down,” eliciting cries of dismay and outrage from the victim’s family.
Smith has a history of minor offenses that date back to 2014. They include a long-term civil protective order filed against him in 2018.
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.