Man accused of shooting Valley woman, infant expected to change plea

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Allyn Smith. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Allyn Smith. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Allyn Smith. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Allyn Smith. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

The case against a man accused of killing a 19-year-old Valley woman and wounding her infant may soon come to an end.

Allyn Smith, 32, is scheduled to appear in court Friday for a "change of plea" hearing, according to online court records. Smith previously pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and intentional child abuse in the 2014 shooting of Khalli Lawrence and her 2-month old daughter, Ki'yah

A spokesperson for the County Attorney's Office declined to comment on whether prosecutors had reached a plea agreement with Smith, but the victim's family is convinced that he will enter a plea Friday that avoids the death penalty. 

"He took her life so he should pay with his. Why should his family be able to go to the jail to see him?" the victim's aunt, Latonya McFalls, said Thursday. "We have to go to a grave site to visit Khalli."

The 19-year-old mother was found shot in the back of the head execution-style on a footpath in Ahwatukee, near 18th Avenue and Liberty Lane. The 2-month-old baby was shot in the leg and survived. Smith was the father of the baby and became incensed at the prospect of paying child support, according to court records. He surrendered to police two months later.

McFalls said prosecutors had assured her family for months they would pursue the death penalty, only to abruptly change course last week. Lead prosecutor Jessi Wade did not respond to questions about the case.

McFalls said she and other family members felt "blindsided" by the decision.

"We want the court to show him the same mercy that he showed Khalli and Ki'yah, which is none," she said. "He left a newborn baby, his baby, in a park for a stranger to find. He left them for dead."

Speaking generally, Maricopa County Attorney spokesperson Amanda Jacinto said the decision on whether or not to pursue the death penalty is an involved process. A committee of senior prosecutors reviews first-degree murder cases and offers a recommendation to the County Attorney on whether to seek the death penalty based on Arizona law and past cases, according to the County Attorney's website

If Smith does not change his plea, the case is scheduled to go to trial next month.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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