Remorseless Killer’s Trial Date Pushed Back

Brianna Kupfer was butally stabbed to death while working at a boutique furniture store.

Pain and weariness were obvious on the faces of Lori and Tod Kupfer as they sat in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on April 11.

With the death of their 24-year-old daughter in January 2022, they had been robbed of soul. Not only Brianna’s soul, but the part of their souls that Brianna had inhabited: a soul that gave meaning, light and laughter.

This was to be the day when the start of the trial was announced for Shawn Laval Smith, the 6’2” 190-pound male that killed the petite Brianna at the Croft House furniture boutique in 2022 with a 7-inch knife.

Kupfer suffered 46-sharp force wounds. There were 26 stab wounds and 11 of the wounds were to the chest, which punctured both lungs. According to the autopsy, she died from exsanguination – the loss of blood.

At this hearing, Smith was shouting so loud behind the closed doors where prisoners are held, the angry voice could be heard in the courtroom.

This is the courtroom where the hearing was held. All cellphones had to be turned off before the judge entered. The bailiff is on the far right. The door next to him is where the defendant enters.

When Smith was brought into the courtroom, one was struck by his lack of remorse. He was like a kid demanding to get his way. Superior Court Judge Mildred Escobedo reminded him twice that he could not speak to her; that all communications had to come through his attorney, the court appointed Robert Haberer.

As the court discussed the trial start date, Attorney Haberer said he had several big cases on the docket for the next month. The judge asked him if any were older than this and it appears because of the backup during Covid, his cases were all “old.”

Then Smith shouted out he wanted a new lawyer (Marsen Motion). The courtroom was cleared. The judge heard why Smith’s lawyer should be removed from the case. It is up to the defendant to show that the public defender’s representation has been ineffective or that a conflict is present.

At a June 2023 hearing, Escobedo had revoked Smith’s right to represent himself following a contentious hearing in which he directed profanities at the judge and abruptly rose from his seat in the courtroom.

On April 11, Escobedo denied Smith’s motion for a new attorney and people were allowed back in the courtroom.

“I’m going to get this case to trial,” Escobedo said, who accommodated the attorney’s schedule and insisted the court have the people’s psychiatrist’s report in three weeks, which would mean that May 9 would be the new date to set the trial.

“This case will go to trial no later than the end of June,” Escobedo said.

Smith then said he wanted a settlement and tried to hand the District Attorney, Habib Balian, a piece of notebook paper.

The judge told Smith, “I want to make this clear, the only person that can make an offer is your attorney.”

The attorney asked if Smith was willing to take an offer. Smith said “yes.” Haberer handed the DA the paper and said, “offer conveyed.”

Habib read it and responded, “We’re not taking an offer that doesn’t have life in it.”

“This case will go to trial no later than the end of June,” Escobedo, repeated.

Smith blurted out, “I’m entitled to a speedy trial.”

At that point, Escobedo said a spitting mask and security would be required for Smith.

The judge asked Smith’s attorney “Does this mean you want to go to trial now, without the doctor’s report?”

Smith told his attorney “No” and then added he wanted a copy of the mental report from the DA’s office, which the judge allowed.

May 9 is the new date for a hearing that will set the trial date.

In addition to the murder charge, Smith also faces two special circumstances allegations: lying in wait and use of a knife. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Smith is being held at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles on $2 million bail.



Shawn Laval Smith’s booking photos.

Smith’s lengthy rap sheet, with 15 arrests, shows he’s familiar with the court system. He has at least 11 arrests in Charleston, S.C., dating back to 2010, when he would have been in high school.

There is still a pending November 2019 South Carolina case against Smith for allegedly discharging a firearm into a stranger’s vehicle while a toddler was in the back seat. Records show he was released 10 days later after posting $50,000 bond. He was told not to leave the state.

He had been arrested three times in California, the first appears to be 2017 in San Diego, when he was arrested for carrying a concealed dagger and using a knife in a threatening manner.

It is unclear how he earned/received money to post bail/pay fines.

 Los Angeles, Calif. 

Jan. 18, 2022 – LAPD identify Smith in connection to the Jan. 13 murder of Briana Kupfer inside a furniture store on North La Brea Avenue.

San Mateo, Calif.

In January 2021, Smith vandalized a car in Daly City, Calif., and when officers arrested him, he resisted and bit one of them, according to court records. He was charged with assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Dist. Atty. Steve Wagstaffe said that Smith’s defense attorney claimed he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. But the suspect was examined by two doctors and, based on their findings last May, a judge determined he was competent to be tried. He served 133 days of an eight-month sentence and was released, but failed to report to his probation officer and his probation was revoked in November.

A bench warrant was issued for Smith’s arrest, but he vanished from the scene, Wagstaffe said. South Carolina authorities never contacted his office, he said, despite Smith being held in San Mateo County jail for eight months.

Covina, Calif.

Oct. 27, 2020 – Smith was arrested in Covina, Calif. in 2020 for misdemeanor possession of stolen property after allegedly shoplifting at a Home Depot but L.A. County prosecutors didn’t press charges, the Covina Police Department said. He was released on $1,000 bail.

Charleston, S.C.

Nov. 13, 2019 – Smith is arrested and charged with discharge of a firearm into a vehicle while occupied. He posts $50,000 bond and is released on Nov. 23, 2019. He is told not to leave the state.

June 8, 2019 – Smith is arrested on a bench warrant and charged with entering premises, after receiving a warning. No bond is set, and he is released the following day.

March 13, 2019 – Smith is arrested and charged with entering premises after a warning. He is released the same day after posting $470 bond.

Nov. 5, 2018 – Smith is arrested on a bench warrant and charged with general sessions and probate contempt of court. He is held until his release on Dec. 14, 2018.

San Diego, Calif.

2017, Smith was charged with two counts of carrying a concealed dagger and using a knife in a threatening manner. He pleaded guilty and received six months in jail and three years of probation and was ordered to pay a $400 fine.

Charlotte, N.C.

June 27, 2016 – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announce that Smith has 14 active warrants for his arrest in connection to a rash of bicycle thefts in the Charlotte area. The outcome of this case was not immediately clear.

Charleston, S.C.

March 5, 2016 – Smith is arrested on charges of trespassing after a notice and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $10,470 bond. He posts bond and is released on April 7, 2016. The outcome of this case was not immediately clear.

March 1, 2016 – Smith is arrested on a charge of trespassing after notice. He posts $470 bond and is released the same day.

July 11, 2015 – Smith is arrested on a bench warrant on charges of careless driving, no driver’s license, and expired registration. He is released on Aug. 15, 2015.

Sept. 11, 2013 – Smith is arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing. He is released on Sept. 13, 2013, after posting $732 bond.

July 22, 2013 – Smith is arrested on a bench warrant and charged with littering on highways. He is released on Aug. 7, 2013.

June 12, 2013 – Smith is arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana. He is released on June 28, 2013.

April 16, 2010 – Smith is arrested and charged with breach of trust. He is released on May 6, 2010.




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One Response to Remorseless Killer’s Trial Date Pushed Back

  1. Diane says:

    Vote George Gascon out of office.
    Tell your neighbors, colleagues,
    Anybody who can vote, every day, tell one person

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