top of page

Why Was This Man Not Already in Prison?

This week a man walked into a furniture store in Los Angeles and stabbed a 24-year-old woman to death.

31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith was arrested in connection with the killing of Brianna Kupfer, who was found lying dead by a customer about 20 minutes after the attack.

Why did this happen? Why was this man not already in prison?

Because he should have been.

Here's what we know. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, "Smith is a transient who has been seen in several Southern California cities along with San Diego and San Francisco, police said."

But also, "Smith had a history of arrests — mainly for relatively minor offenses — dating back to 2010 and has a pending felony case in South Carolina for allegedly firing a flare gun at a car with a toddler inside in 2019 in Mount Pleasant, Fox News reported."

Smith's 'Minor' Offenses

Firing a flare gun at a car with kids in it is a "minor" offense? We will never know because "a case backlog due to the coronavirus pandemic has effectively kept that case from proceeding."

Here are some other "minor" incidents involving Smith.

"Court documents show that in 2017, Smith was charged in San Diego with carrying a concealed dagger and using the knife in a threatening manner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail, KGTV-TV reported."

"Fox reported that Smith was cited for allegedly possessing stolen property in 2020 outside of a Home Depot but wasn’t prosecuted and last June he was given probation for resisting arrest for allegedly attacking a police officer. However, his probation was revoked in November because he failed to heed requirements of a plea deal, Fox said."

Want more?

One year before this week's murder, Smith bit a police officer.

“I tried to speak to him, but he was just yelling over my words and not listening,” officer Jay Mulitauopele reportedly wrote," the New York Post reported. “Then Smith started yelling ‘I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!'”

“He moved his head quickly and bit my right index finger latching on with full force,” Mulitauopele reportedly wrote. “I screamed in pain.”

Again, what is wrong with our system that a person with this wrap sheet is free to roam, maim, and murder (allegedly)?

Crime on the Rise in California and Across the Country

Crime is on the rise in California, including murder. This increase in crime has also increasingly become a political concern for many Americans, particularly as prosecutors across the country have been seen as being too soft on criminals.

President Joe Biden promised to fix this problem, meaning more gun control. But what does harassing law-abiding gun owners have to do with stopping people with violent intent?

This administration should put more pressure on prosecutors to put bad guys where they belong, but Biden has no intention of doing that. The New York Post reported on Thursday, "(White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki) was also asked about rising violent crime rates in the US, which polls indicate are a growing concern for Americans, and responded that Biden has 'encouraged' local and state officials to take on crime in their own communities and expects to see a significant increase in funding for local policing."

Biden Won't Do Anything to Help Stop the Increase in Violent Crime

The Post added, "When pressed on overly lenient prosecutors in New York City and elsewhere, the press secretary made clear that Biden was not going to wade into the actions of prosecutors or of the legal Justice Department. That’s his bottom line."

Maybe Biden should "wade." Maybe we have too many violent criminals walking free. Maybe prosecutors should be pressured to do a better job.

Maybe an innocent Los Angeles woman at the beginning of her life might still be alive if we had a system that worked.

bottom of page