Man accused of stabbing woman in Los Angeles has criminal ties to North Carolina

LOS ANGELES (KTLA/WNCN) — A man has been charged with stabbing a 24-year-old woman to death while she was working alone at a Hancock Park furniture store last week, officials said Friday.

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, faces one count of murder and a special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, in the random attack, according to the county prosecutor’s office from Los Angeles.

Smith is a passenger with at least a dozen arrests and multiple convictions in Southern California, South Carolina and North Carolina.

WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported that Smith had faced several charges in the past in Charlotte and many had been fired.

The most serious charge that was dismissed was “assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill,” WBTV reported.

Smith was arrested in Pasadena on Wednesday, nearly a week after the Jan. 13 murder of Brianna Kupfer at Croft House on North La Brea Avenue.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said Smith “was not known to the victim and randomly entered the store.” It is still unclear what prompted the fatal stabbing.

At 1:36 p.m. that day, Kupfer texted a friend saying there was someone inside the store who was “giving it a bad vibe,” LAPD officials had previously said.

About 14 minutes later, a customer walked in and found the victim dead on the floor, covered in blood.

Police say the assailant stabbed the young woman to death before exiting the back door. Authorities had released video of a man walking away down the alley behind the crime scene. Another video showed the suspect at a 7-Eleven store just 30 minutes after the fatal encounter.

Smith was eventually arrested after police received a call from someone reporting a person matching his description was at the corner of Colorado and Fair Oaks in Pasadena on Wednesday. He was detained and transferred to LAPD custody.

Smith has a long criminal history in LA County and was also sentenced to extradition to North Carolina in connection with an assault with a deadly weapon.

He was due to be arraigned Friday in the Hancock Park incident.

Kupfer was a resident of Pacific Palisades and worked as a design consultant for Croft House.

“Those who show no compassion for human life will face serious consequences,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “Brianna Kupfer’s murder has devastated Los Angeles County and my office is contacting her family to provide any services she may require.”

The WNCN and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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