Man charged with murder in tot’s death
Posted: Friday, May 02, 2008 - 12:07:48 am MDT
By NICHOLAS LEDDEN/Daily Inter Lake
Prosecutors have upped the charge to murder against an Evergreen man implicated in the May 5 shooting death of a 19-month-old child.
Dwayne Scott Smail, 23, pleaded innocent Thursday in Flathead County District Court to the amended charge of deliberate homicide.
The charge was increased Wednesday from negligent homicide to deliberate homicide after prosecutors determined physical evidence at the scene failed to support Smail’s claim that the shooting was an accident.
“The story he originally provided to police doesn’t, in our opinion, match the physical evidence,” Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said. “Absent of an explanation that does match the physical evidence, we intend to proceed forward with deliberate homicide charges.”
According to court documents, Smail told investigators he had placed the 9 mm Ruger pistol on an exposed portion of his bed’s box spring before going to sleep and awoke to find 19-month-old Korbyn Eva May Williams tapping him on the shoulder, holding the handgun.
The gun discharged when he went to grab it from the toddler, he told detectives.
But physical evidence at the scene indicates Smail and Korbyn were three or more feet apart when the gun discharged, prosecutors charge.
A forensic investigation at the state crime lab in Missoula determined Smail had the gun when it fired. The absence of gunpowder residue on Korbyn’s clothes suggests she could not have both held the gun and fired it, investigators found.
In addition, blood-spatter analysis conducted by specialists from MicroVision Forensics and the Washington state crime lab placed Korbyn in a sitting position facing west near the room’s north wall when she was shot. Smail was determined to be near the southwest corner of the bed.