The Eyota teenager charged with killing his 5-year-old brother in June 2020 is scheduled to be sentenced in Olmsted County District Court later this month.
Kaleb Wolfe Smith, 18, is charged with second-degree murder-without intent, domestic assault by strangulation and first-degree manslaughter. Smith was 17 at the time of the death and originally charged via a juvenile delinquency petition.
He has since been certified as an adult in court. Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree manslaughter in the juvenile delinquency petition and the plea will transfer to the adult case.
The petition to enter a guilty plea outlines a 120-month sentence for Smith on the first-degree manslaughter charge. The sentence is an aggravated sentence above the guideline sentence. Prosecutors filed an intent to seek an aggravated sentence stating that the victim in this case was particularly vulnerable due to his age, was treated with particular cruelty and that the crime was committed in a place where the child had an expectation of privacy.
Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27 by Judge Kevin Lund. It is likely that Smith will serve his prison sentence while committed to the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, rather than state prison.
Olmsted County sheriff's deputies and Eyota Ambulance were called on June 1, 2020, to the 300 block of Second Street Southwest for a report of a 5-year-old boy who was not breathing. Lifesaving efforts were attempted on scene and the boy, identified by law enforcement as Alex James Smith, was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys, where he was pronounced dead.
Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted by the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office indicated that the boy's brain exhibited swelling consistent with hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, by smothering. Shortly after the incident, Smith admitted to law enforcement that he pinched the boy's nose shut and covered his mouth for one to two minutes, according to court documents.
In July, Smith's attorney filed a request for an evaluation to determine if Smith was competent to proceed with the case or was not responsible at the time of the alleged offense because of mental illness. Court records indicate that Smith was found incompetent in August 2020 and that same month a motion for a civil commitment evaluation was ordered. Smith was subsequently civilly committed and has been receiving psychiatric treatment.
In February, a motion to dismiss was filed on behalf of Smith.
In the motion, Smith's attorney noted that the young man remained in a psychiatric facility "where he is safe, receives appropriate treatment, and cannot harm others in the community." In arguing for the dismissal, the attorney also noted that Smith would likely remain hospitalized longer than the sentence would be if Smith were certified as an adult and found guilty of murder. A judge denied the motion.