South LA mother to stand trial in alleged murder, torture of 4-year-old daughter

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A woman was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on murder and other charges stemming from her 4-year-old daughter’s death following an alleged assault in the family’s South Los Angeles home nearly two years ago.

Following a preliminary hearing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor found there was sufficient evidence to require Akira Keyshell Smith, now 36, to stand trial on one count each of murder, torture and assault on a child causing death involving the Aug. 11, 2020, death of her daughter, Eternity.

The criminal complaint alleges that Smith was convicted in 2016 of assault with a deadly weapon and in 2014 of injuring a spouse, cohabitant, fiance or boyfriend.

She remains jailed on $3 million bail, and is due back in court for arraignment May 18.

In court Tuesday, the girl’s oldest brother, now 18, testified that his mother kept “slapping and slapping” Eternity that day, and that he also saw his mother choking his sister and “kicking her while she was on the floor.”

The young man — who said he told his mother to stop — testified that his mother eventually went to her room while he checked on his sister who was on the floor in the hallway. He said he subsequently told his mother that the girl’s stomach was moving in a weird way.

South LA mother arrested for death of 4-year-old daughter resulting from child abuse

“My mom told me to get her some food. She didn’t want any of it,” the girl’s oldest brother testified, adding later that his mother also told him to get some water for her.
“We called the ambulance to come and hurry up,” he said. Another of the girl’s brothers, who is now 10, said he doesn’t remember so well what happened to his sister.

“What did you see your mom do? Was there hitting?” Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami asked.
“Definitely hitting,” the younger boy testified, adding that he believed that there was also kicking and slapping as his sister cried. When asked why he didn’t try to stop his mother, the boy responded, “What if I was next?”

The boy testified that the girl was “just laying there, not crying any more” and “wasn’t moving at all” after his mother stopped the alleged attack.

He acknowledged that he would sometimes play-fight with the girl, and that she had fallen at one point from a bunk bed probably about a month earlier.
Defense attorney Kimberly Greene asked the boy if his mother would sometimes seem sad and whether he ever saw his mother taking medication. He responded that she sometimes seemed sad and that she had pills.

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