Update: Teenager Kills Sister, Attacks Toddler in Spotsylvania County

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Boy’s state of mind is at issue:

A teen charged with raping and killing his sister may have been under the influence of marijuana during or after the crime, his defense attorney suggested in court yesterday.

Also in court, the boy’s mother suggested her son is insane and needs help.

A judge granted a request by Walter L. Smith Jr.’s defense lawyer to take a blood sample from Smith, 16, charged in the Labor Day slaying of his sister Betsy Mary Smith, 22, to determine whether the boy had drugs in his system.

The teen’s lawyer, Kristie Kane, said the blood analysis could provide evidence that might help Smith’s case, though she would not say how. Spotsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney William F. Neely said the results, which also would show any medications the teen had taken, could affect how Smith’s statements to police are weighed in court.

Smith made an initial appearance yesterday in Spotsylvania Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Judge Joseph J. Ellis set a Nov. 27 hearing to determine whether the case would be transferred to Spotsylvania Circuit Court, where Smith would be tried as an adult.


Walter L. Smith Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and rape in the death of his sister. Prosecutors yesterday also upgraded to aggravated malicious wounding a charge involving Smith’s alleged beating of his 2-year-old niece, who remains hospitalized.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors gave this account of what happened:

Smith attacked his sister with a sledgehammer and raped her Monday morning, in addition to hitting the toddler with the sledgehammer. The teen then locked the two victims and a 1-year-old relative in his sister’s bedroom in the dilapidated home along Brock Road in central Spotsylvania. The sister kept a padlock on the outside of her door.

At some point, relatives in the home asked about the two young children, and Smith let them out of the room and then locked it again. A relative took the girl to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, where it was determined the child had a fractured skull.

A detective went to the home about 8 p.m. Smith’s father gained access to the bedroom and they found the sister dead inside. Neely said she is believed to have been dead about 20 hours by then.

Smith then tried to commit suicide by jumping off a roof, authorities said. He initially told investigators that he killed his sister because she injured the toddler, Neely said, but then he changed his account.

In court yesterday, the judge cited the “heinous” nature of the allegations in deciding that Smith should remain in juvenile detention.

Neely said he believes county social services officials had opened an investigation involving some household members before the slaying. The parents apparently were sleeping at the time and later thought the older sister was away, Neely said, adding he does not expect to bring charges against the parents.

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