In his own words


KHQ ‘s Hayley Guenthner sits with Donavon Culps in Spokane County Jail on Sept. 18. Culps has been charged with the murder of Cameron Smith | Photo courtesy of KHQ

By Josh Fletcher, News Editor

“I didn’t think about it, I just pulled out the gun and shot him,” said Donavon Culps, in a jailhouse interview. Culps shot and killed Cameron Smith outside of LUCID in Cheney on Sept. 10.

Culps was calm, yet remorseful with KHQ’s Hayley Guenthner, where he talked about what happened in an interview leading up to Smith’s death and kidnapping last month.

Smith, who was not even inside of LUCID when Culps came in and was turned away for not having an ID, was the target of Culps’ temper.

Culps didn’t even know Smith was an employee at LUCID, he just wanted to buy some marijuana from him.

“I asked if I could buy a sack,” said Culps. “I figured he bought some weed from the dispensary and I’d buy a sack from him.”

But that’s when things took a turn for the worse and Culps pulled out his Glock 9mm and shot Smith three or four times.

“He was trying to get tough, trying to act tough, trying to disrespect, to degrade me,” Culps told Guenthner.

Culps also said it wasn’t his intention to kill Smith that day, it was in the heat of the moment when his anger took over.

“I didn’t walk over there to kill him. I didn’t walk over there to shoot him. He was disrespecting me,” said Culps, who later admitted he would take back what he did.

After Culps shot and took Smith’s car, he dumped the body and the car in Airway Heights, before leaving town. Later that night, an Acura that matched the description of a car registered to Culps was spotted in Yakima, but the driver of that car was able to evade police.

Then, on Sept. 14, Yakima Police said they found Culps and took him into custody in Goldendale, following “a short pursuit ending in a collision.”

The next day, Culps was moved to Spokane County Jail, where he was charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery.

Smith had a wife and kids who will now have to go on without their father, something Culps could relate to.

“I feel for his kids, you know? Because I know my kids are feeling the same,” Culps said while crying.

What ended up being just a random act of killing may also be Culps’ plea for help, who wished he died that day.

“My life is over… I wanted to die, I wanted to die that day,” Culps said while holding back tears. Guenthner asked, “So instead you killed somebody else?”

“So I can die,” Culps said, now in tears. “So the cops can kill me, that’s what I wanted–to die.”