More trouble for defendant in homicide case

Woman who pled guilty to negligent homicide also charged with theft

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2007

A Juneau woman who pled guilty Wednesday to criminally negligent homicide in the traffic death of a University of Alaska Southeast student faces an unrelated charge of felony theft.

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Stephanie Smathers, 20, was charged on Jan. 5 with allegedly stealing $3,467.62 in cash and roughly $1,000 in merchandise while working at Gottschalks department store in the Mendenhall Mall, according to a district court affidavit obtained Thursday.

The alleged felony thefts were caught on video by Gottschalks' in-house security, and Smathers signed a confession on Jan. 5, according to the district attorney.

Tom Nave, Smathers' attorney in the homicide case, did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

The thefts were part of an ongoing scheme carried out in late December and early January by Smathers and her aunt, the document alleges.

While working as a register clerk, Smathers allegedly allowed her aunt to remove money from the till, the affidavit says. They would meet outside and split the take in half, it claims.

A trial has been delayed until March.

Smathers will be sentenced March 27 for her role in the death of Jody Watson in August 2005.

She pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court after first facing a charge of manslaughter.

Smathers was allegedly in a physical altercation with David Alex, the driver of a Plymouth van, when it collided head-on with Watson's Dodge Neon at Brotherhood Bridge in Mendenhall Valley.

The homicide conviction carries a sentence of one to three years.

Alex, 23, is scheduled for a February trial on a manslaughter charge.



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