LA DA Gascón tried to reduce potential sentencing enhancements for mother accused of murdering daughter

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A California judge ordered a south Los Angeles mom this week to stand trial for allegedly torturing and murdering her 4-year-old daughter in August 2020. 

Akira Keyshell Smith, 36, is facing charges for murder, assault on a child, and torture in the death of Eternity Smith. 

Smith has two previous felony strikes on her record after being convicted of inflicting corporal injury to a spouse in 2014 and assault with a deadly weapon in a separate incident in September 2016. 

If Smith is convicted of a third felony for allegedly murdering her daughter, the third strike would mandate a 25-year minimum sentence. 

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Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, who is prosecuting Smith, told Fox News Digital that Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón tried to have Smith’s two previous strikes removed on Dec. 7, 2020. 

“On Dec 15, 2020, at a Preliminary Hearing Setting, I refused to remove the strikes. Three days later, George Gascon called me ‘unfit’ and ‘delusional’ and said I was going to be disciplined. The public now can see all the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing and can [make their] own decision,” Hatami, a frequent critic of Gascón, said Thursday. 

“I will continue to do my job by following the law, the evidence, and doing the right thing for the child victim.”

Eternity’s oldest brother, now 18, testified this week that on Aug. 11 of 2020, his mother was “slapping and kicking” his sister throughout the day, as well as choking her and “kicking her while she was on the floor,” according to the City News Service. 

“My mom told me to get her some food,” Eternity’s brother said. “She didn’t want any of it.”

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Smith is due back in court on May 18 for her arraignment. 

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference, December 8, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. 

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference, December 8, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. 
(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

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About two months after Hatami said that Gascón tried to get Smith’s prior strikes removed, LA County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ordered Gascón to comply with the three-strikes law. 

“The District Attorney’s disregard of the Three Strikes ‘plead and prove’ requirement is unlawful, as is requiring deputy district attorneys to seek dismissal of pending sentencing enhancements without lawful bias,” Chalfant wrote in the preliminary injunction. 

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A group that is trying to recall Gascón told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that they have collected more than 400,000 signatures and are closing in on the 566,857 signatures needed by July 6 to put the recall question on a ballot later this year. 

Gascón’s office did not return a request for comment on Thursday about urging Hatami to remove the strikes against Smith. 

Fox News’s Louis Casiano contributed to this report. 

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