After a request to move Robert Smith III’s case to juvenile court was denied, the young murder suspect’s attorney is now asking the court to suppress evidence in the case.
Smith was 16 years old when he and his older cousin allegedly kidnapped 72-year-old Elvia Fragstein from the Conway Commons shopping center in July 2018. The Wooster woman’s husband reported her missing at midnight, July 8, 2018, and her body was later found facedown off a rural, Jefferson County road.
Despite a three-day juvenile transfer hearing held in Faulkner County Circuit Court in an attempt to have the matter moved from adult court to the juvenile division, Judge Troy B. Braswell Jr. ruled July 18 that the case would remain in adult court.
Garfield W. Bloodman, who represents Smith, has since filed a motion requesting that evidence be suppressed and not introduced before a jury during trial.
The motion as it stands is vague, claiming the defense “has reason to believe that the State will attempt at trial to introduce certain evidence obtained during or subsequent to a search of the Defendant.”
The defense does not detail what the “certain” evidence he is referring to, other than that Bloodman believes evidence collected in the matter was collected after Smith was “illegally detained,” making the search and seizure a violation of the then-16-year-old’s Constitutional rights.
According to the motion to suppress filed on Smith’s behalf, “the police searched [Smith] and his property without him freely giving voluntary consent and with the absence of any such extrinsic circumstances as to give probable cause or justify a search and seizure.”
Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigators testified during the transfer hearing that was held June 12-13 and finished up July 3 that authorities searched Smith’s Pine Bluff residence for evidence after obtaining a search warrant. Among items collected during the search were the shoes investigators saw Smith wearing in photos and videos captured by surveillance cameras of the businesses within the Conway Commons shopping center.
Rachel Ganley, a criminalist with the Arkansas State Crime Lab, testified that she found traces of Elvia’s blood on the shoes the younger Pine Bluff teen wore the day he and Mackrell allegedly kidnapped the Wooster woman.
On Monday, a pretrial hearing to discuss the recently-filed motion was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 28. The teen’s cousin is scheduled to appear in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Thursday after the two attorneys representing Mackrell filed disputing motions about remaining on the case and about the need to possibly postpone the 19-year-old’s approaching death trial.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.