Evaluation ordered for father in infant’s death

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — A competency evaluation has been ordered for a 23-year-old man who faces a possible life sentence if convicted of felony murder charges in the death of his six-week old daughter.

Luis Marcos Smolen was arraigned in February before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Linda Parker on charges of felony murder and first-degree child abuse. Police and prosecutors said that in December 2013 Payton Smolen died after suffering severe head trauma and multiple injuries.

Smolen initially was arraigned in Taylor’s 23rd District Court, which referred the matter to Circuit Court after an initial hearing.

Last week Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny requested a forensic competency evaluation and order for criminal responsibility. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said the orders were issued to determine if Smolen can be subjected to a jury trial.

“They want to be sure he can be held criminally responsible and understand that he wasn’t obeying the law at the time,” Miller said.

Smolen was taken into custody shortly after police responded early on Dec. 1 to the 15000 block of Park Village, where an infant was reportedly not breathing. Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said the baby appeared to have been beaten, and was pronounced dead at the hospital later that day.

The baby’s mother and a 1-year-old sibling were in the home at the time, and Sclabassi said police requested an independent investigation from Child Protective Services.

Earlier this month Kenny asked for transcripts from all district court proceedings.

A competency hearing is scheduled for July 18. Smolen remained in custody without bond.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)