Man found guilty of murder in 2021 hotel shooting

A Marion County jury has convicted a man of murder in the June 2021 shooting death of 21-year-old Davontae D. Smith at a Salem hotel near the Lansing neighborhood.

Antonio J. Soto, 34 of Silverton, was found guilty on Friday, Feb. 10 after a 10-day trial in Marion County Circuit Court. He was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a felon. His sentencing is scheduled for March 16.

Soto shot and killed Smith and tried to kill another man during the same incident.

Authorities have provided no information about what led to the murder of Smith, a Portland resident, at the Capital Inn on Northeast Fisher Road. 

Police responded to the hotel around 3:30 a.m. on June 8, 2021, after callers reported hearing gunshots coming from the second floor, according to a court filing Jan. 12 by Marion County Circuit Judge James Edmonds. 

Police found Smith dead in the stairwell.

Officers subsequently searched rooms 211 and 219 of the hotel, reviewed surveillance video and searched through Smith’s cell phone, according to the court filing.

The Salem Police Department identified Smith as the victim three days after the shooting. A grand jury charged Soto in a sealed indictment that same day, court records showed.

One month later on July 8, 2021, the Salem police identified Soto as the suspect in a news release. The department said Soto was “armed and dangerous,” issuing a public call for information that would help police find him.

U.S. deputy marshals arrested Soto in Pasco, Washington, the following day. 

He was extradited to Salem and booked into Marion County Jail two months after his arrest on Sept. 8, 2021, according to Marion County Sheriff’s Sgt. Don Parise.

A decade earlier, in 2011, Soto pleaded guilty in Marion County to first-degree robbery. Prosecutors dismissed additional counts of second-degree robbery and third-degree assault as part of his plea deal, court records showed. He was sentenced to nine years and six months in state prison and three years of post-prison supervision.

This story was updated Friday afternoon to include Soto’s sentencing date.


Salem police identify person found dead at Capital Inn

Salem police seek public’s help locating suspect in June 8 homicide

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.