By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — A 23-year-old man was declared competent to stand trial in the death of his six-week-old daughter.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said Luis Marcos Smolen was found able to understand the charges against him and participate in his defense in a jury trial scheduled for October in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Smolen was charged with first-degree felony murder and first-degree child abuse for the December death of his daughter, Payton, whom police said had been beaten.
According to police reports, officers were called to Smolen’s home in the 15000 block of Park Village on Dec. 7 in response to reports of a baby that was not breathing. Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said at the time that the child appeared to have been beaten. Payton was pronounced dead as a result of head trauma that afternoon at the hospital.
Responding officers testified during a preliminary examination in March before 23rd District Court Judge Geno Salomone that Smolen had admitted hitting the child. Police said Smolen had told them the child had been crying and he’d lost his temper.
Police reports and testimony given by responding officers indicated that Smolen had told investigators he’d “killed his daughter.”
Smolen was declared competent for trial on Aug. 8 by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy M. Kenny. A jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 14.
Smolen remained in custody without bond. If convicted of first-degree felony murder he faces a possible life sentence without possibility of parole; first-degree child abuse is punishable by up to life in prison.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)