$500,000 bail for man who claims self-defense in November homicide

Ryder Smith appears in court for a bail hearing on Friday (John Dougherty/KTVF)

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) A man charged with first degree murder and evidence tampering had bail set at $500,000 Friday. Ryder Smith appeared before Superior Court Judge Brent Bennett for the bail hearing. His attorney Gary Stapp requested bail be set at a $10,000 appearance bond with a 10% cash posting --- for a total of $1,000 for Smith to get out of jail.

Ryder Smith was charged with murder after he allegedly shot Peter Horace-Wright multiple times with a shotgun. Smith claims he shot Wright in self-defense after Wright began to strangle him. According to assistant district attorney Spenser Ruppert, this version of events was believable at first, but evidence found on scene suggested a different version of events.

Ruppert said that troopers found a phone at the scene that Wright had been using to record the attack on video. The video showed Smith approaching Wright’s truck with a shotgun. Wright told Smith he was recording the event, reportedly said he doesn’t care, and then shoots at the truck.

After this point the phone is dropped -- but Ruppert said audio can still be heard, and that Smith shot Wright numerous other times while he was begging for his life. He said Smith can also be heard smashing another phone he found on Wright in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Many of Horace-Wright's friends and family came to the hearing wearing shirts that said, “Justice for Peter,” with his face printed on the shirts.

Wright's mother and father both addressed Judge Bennett regarding bail. "The bail request that I read was an insult to my son, and to my family,” said Bernadette Demientieff, the mother of Wright. “Asking for house arrest after taking someone's life shows that there is no accountability on his behalf. This is an extremely serious charge and he showed no remorse or demonstrated any responsibility, torturing and killing my unarmed son as he tried to leave."

Ruppert argued that Smith presented a significant danger to the community and asked for a $500,000 bail. Judge Bennett sided with Ruppert and set a $250,000 appearance bond and $250,000 performance bond, for a total of $500,000 in bail with a 100% posting required for Smith to be released. If Smith does post bail he will be placed under house arrest.

Copyright 2019 KTVF. All rights reserved.