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Suspect arrested in Los Angeles cold case murders of 2-year-old girl, father
Suspect arrested in Los Angeles cold case murders of 2-year-old girl, father
Suspect arrested in Los Angeles cold case murders of 2-year-old girl, father

Published on: 11/03/2023


LOS ANGELES (TND) — A suspect was arrested in connection to a California cold case from 2001 that claimed the life of a 2-year-old girl and her father, authorities announced Friday.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said Jahon Smith, 47, was arrested earlier this week and charged in the double murder of 25-year-old Stephen Murphy and his 2-year-old daughter, Kali Murphy, in Compton.

Smith faces two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, as well as several of other charges.

Homicide Bureau Lt. Hugo Reynaga said Murphy and his daughter were killed on Aug. 8, 2001. That night, he said five drive-by shootings took place in the area within five minutes.

Reynaga described the man and his daughter as unintended victims in gang-related retaliation to a separate murder.

Kali would have been 25 years old (in October)," Reynaga said during a news conference Friday. "Her birthday was September 25."

Reynaga said Murphy was outside strapping Kali into her carseat when he heard gunfire. He tried to rush inside his grandmother's house, but it was too late.

He made a dash for his grandmother's front door in order to protect Kali, but that day evil won," Reynaga said, describing the murder of a baby girl as unforgivable.

Reynaga said a second suspect, who he described as a Black man, remains at large.

This case is not over by any means," he said. "It continues to be an ongoing investigation until all the suspects involved in murdering Kali -- an innocent 2-year-old baby girl -- and her young father, Stephen, are held accountable. Investigators know there are multiple suspects in this case .. There's still additional DNA evidence being analyzed in this case and investigators continue to wait for the results."

As he spoke, he was flanked by Murphy and Kali's loved ones. They included Phyllis Murphy, who was Murphy's mother and Kali's grandmother.

"I give thanks to God, my heavenly Father Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, for allowing me to see this day," Phyllis said, also thamking officers for tracking down the suspect. "We want to thank them for not giving up for the last 22 years. We've finally feel that justice may not always be sweet, but it will be sweet now that the suspect will be held accountable."

Reynaga said detectives continue to urge the public to share information with them that might help them find the other suspects.

Smith is being held without bail. If convicted on all charges, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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