Escaped Georgia inmate wanted in Florida murder kills himself as authorities close in

PHOTO: Stephen Michael Smith, 25, killed himself as authorities closed in after fleeing a work release program and allegedly killing a man in Lakeland, Fla.PlayGulf County Sheriff's Office
WATCH News headlines today: Sept. 20, 2019

An escaped Georgia inmate who was named as the suspect in a fatal shooting over a botched drug deal in Florida earlier this week took his own life on Tuesday night as authorities closed in.

The suspect, identified as 34-year-old Stephen Michael Smith, was spotted driving on a highway in Florida's Gulf County late Tuesday evening. As a task force from the United States Marshals Service and deputies from the Gulf County Sheriff's Office surrounded the car to apprehend him, Smith placed a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

Smith failed to return from a work release program on Aug. 15 at the Clayton Transitional Center in Georgia, where he was serving a 10-year sentence for robbery.

PHOTO: Destiny Jene Terry, 44, was the alleged accomplice to the murder of a Lakeland, Fla., man committed by Stephen Michael Smith, who died by suicide as cops closed in on him Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Gulf County Sheriffs Office
Destiny Jene Terry, 44, was the alleged accomplice to the murder of a Lakeland, Fla., man committed by Stephen Michael Smith, who died by suicide as cops closed in on him Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.

Then on Monday morning at a home near Florida's Saint Joe Beach, Smith allegedly shot and killed Daniel Lee Upton, 30, of Lakeland, Florida, before fleeing the scene. Investigators believe the deadly shooting was the result of a drug deal gone bad, according to the sheriff's office.

Smith's alleged accomplice, 44-year-old Destiny Jene Terry, was arrested early Tuesday morning after investigators determined she was present during the shooting and helped facilitate the meeting between Smith and the victim.

Terry remains in custody at the Gulf County Detention Facility and faces a principal to second-degree murder charge, according to the sheriff's office.

PHOTO: Stephen Michael Smith, 25, killed himself as authorities closed in after fleeing a work release program and allegedly killing a man in Lakeland, Fla. Gulf County Sheriffs Office
Stephen Michael Smith, 25, killed himself as authorities closed in after fleeing a work release program and allegedly killing a man in Lakeland, Fla.

The Georgia Department of Corrections issued a statewide "be on the lookout" order for Smith on Tuesday.

The U.S. Marshals Service had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Smith's arrest.