Renton man pleads not guilty in mother’s homicide

King County prosecutors filed charges against Walter Smith

A 40-year-old Renton man pleaded not guilty to a murder charge for the killing of his mother at her home in Renton with a knife.

Walter Martin Smith, 40, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of murder in the first degree at his arraignment in King County Superior Court on Sept. 27, according to an email from Casey McNerthney, director of communications for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

King County prosecutors filed charges against Walter Smith on Aug. 11 for the Aug. 9 killing of Kathleen Smith at her Renton home in the 11800 block of Southeast 188th Street that left her lying dead on the front porch.

A prosecutorial statement of the charge alleges Walter Smith committed the murder with premeditated intent.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, autopsy findings and evidence at the scene indicates Walter Smith attacked Kathleen Smith with a knife twice on Aug. 9, first in her bedroom, then with a second fatal attack on the front porch after she walked outside from the initial attack.

Renton police were dispatched to the scene on Aug. 9 after receiving a call at approximately 7:08 p.m. from a neighbor who saw Kathleen Smith lying on the front porch covered in blood. According to the affidavit, law enforcement arrived at the scene to find Kathleen Smith with multiple knife wounds to her face and severe cuts to her neck “so severe that it appeared the spine was the only thing keeping the head attached to the body.”

According to an email from Kaila Lafferty, a public health information officer for King County, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the death as a homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries of the neck.

Police arrested Walter Smith at the scene after seeing him standing outside, watching law enforcement arrive. Factors including Walter Smith’s hospitalization at Harborview Medical Center resulted in the delay of Smith’s arraignment four times. Smith remains in custody on $5 million bail.

The court scheduled Smith’s next hearing for Oct. 16 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to McNerthney. Smith will face a jury trial scheduled for Nov. 20, 2023.