UPDATE: Kristen Smith found guilty of kidnapping baby Kayden Pow - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Kristen Smith found guilty of kidnapping baby Kayden Powell

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A federal jury Thursday found Kristen Smith guilty of kidnapping, for taking her newborn nephew from a Town of Beloit home and abandoning him at an Iowa gas station in sub-zero, February weather, as police officers closed in to question her.

Smith showed little emotion as the verdict of the jury of seven women and five men was read.

Smith had invited the baby''s 18-year old mother, half-sister Brianna Marshall, father Bruce Powell, and infant Kayden Powell to live with her at her home in Colorado, but left alone with the baby in the early morning of Feb. 6, claiming she had received permission from Powell to go ahead of the couple. Both Powell and Marshall never referenced granting such permission during their trial testimony.

Prosecutors say Smith faked a pregnancy, with a prosthetic belly, fake birth announcements, and a birth certificate application, all coinciding with Kayden Powell's birth.

"She lied, and she lied again, and she lied again," U.S. Attorney John Vodreuil said. "That was the focal point of our case. She is a liar. And this is the just result."

But Smith's attorney, Matthew Noel, said evidence showed while Smith panicked in abandoning the infant, a kidnapping plot was inconsistent with her overtures to the young family to join her in Colorado. "We plan on filing a motion for a new trial," Noel said.

Authorities say the baby was found okay - wrapped in blankets in the tote -  more than a day after being abandoned during a search of the gas station by an Iowa police chief. The nearly six month old boy was in court for the verdict with his parents. They say he is doing well and beginning to crawl.

Marshall says it was difficult to testify, and follow the trial.

"It's kind of like torture all over again," Marshall said. "You find out new things, and what happened, and what you should have looked out for."

Bruce Powell said the couple and child are ready to go forward, but believe Smith should receive a stiff punishment.

"But you always have to forgive people at the end of the day," Powell said. "What God's got for her, God's got for her."

When sentenced in late October, Smith faces a sentence of twenty-five years to life in prison. Vodreuil declined to specify what prosecutors will ask for in terms of prison years for Smith.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A jury panel in federal court has found Kristen Smith guilty of kidnapping.




31-year-old Kristen Smith was found guilty of kidnapping baby Kayden Powell of Beloit in court Thursday.

Smith's sentencing is scheduled in October and faces possible life in prison.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A jury of seven women and five men are deliberating the fate of 31-year old Kristen Smith of Colorado, who's charged with kidnapping her half-sister's newborn baby from the Town of Beloit in February.

In closing arguments, assistant U.S. attorney Stephen Sinnott told jurors Smith had lied to relatives and investigators about her intentions with the child, and what she did after taking four-day old Kayden Powell from the home his teen mother and the infant's father were staying at. Smith testified the boy's father, Bruce Powell, groggily gave Smith permission to take the baby to Colorado in the early morning hours of Feb. 6, ahead of the couple's plan to move there as well.

"No honest woman would steal a baby in the middle of the night without telling her sister," Sinnott told jurors. Hours after Smith left with the baby, hysterical mother 18-year old Brianna Marshall called Smith to inform her the baby was gone. During his testimony, Powell never referenced giving Smith permission to take the child.

Authorities say Smith left the baby in a plastic tote near a gas station in Iowa after she learned police officers were investigating the child's disappearance. The infant was found more than a day later, and was okay, despite sub-zero temperatures.

Sinnott told jurors Smith lied to investigators "...for hours and hours..." after she was detained in Iowa on an arrest warrant from Texas and questioned about the baby's whereabouts before the boy was found.

While Sinnott acknowledged Smith swaddled the child in blankets before abandoning him and had hoped to retrieve him, he called Smith "...an opportunistic and malicious person," who had duped her half-sister and the baby's father into believing she was concerned for them, and was primarily trying to avoid incrimination and jail after abandoning the infant.

Sinnott also showed jurors a plastic, fake belly with a navel from Smith's SUV, and a birth certificate application from her Colorado home, as he told them Smith faked a pregnancy and wanted the child as her own.

"What motive? What benefit? It was precious: it was Kayden," Sinnott said.

But Smith's attorney, Matthew Noll said the prosecution's case "...did not add up," with Smith's offer to the newborn couple to move to Colorado inconsistent with an alleged plot to kidnap the baby and bring him there.
Noel told jurors Smith panicked when she became aware of the pursuing police, and dropped off Kayden Powell. "This was probably not the best way for my client to handle the situation, but she is not guilty of this crime," NNoelsaid

If convicted of kidnapping the baby, Smith faces a possible life sentence.

For more on the jury's deliberation and decision, visit wkow.com, check Tony Galli's tweets at @galli_wkow, and watch 27 News at 5, 6 and 10, and at any time, when there is a development in this baby kidnapping trial.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In their closing statements, federal prosecutors say a Colorado woman faked a pregnancy, and then kidnapped her newborn nephew in Wisconsin in hopes of passing him off as her own son.

   Prosecutor Stephen Sinnott on Thursday described 31-year-old Kristen Smith as a manipulative liar whose defense defies common sense.
   Smith took 4-day-old Kayden Powell from the Town of Beloit in February. As police closed in she swaddled him inside a plastic tote that she left at an Iowa gas station.
   Smith testified that the boy's father asked her to Kayden to Denver, and the parents would join her in a few days.
   Sinnott says no new parents would send their newborn away without formula, diapers and other supplies. He also says a filled-out birth certificate application in Smith's home shows she planned to pass Kayden off as her own son, Kaysin.
Tony Galli is at the trial and you can follow his updates @galli_wkow and here on www.wkow.com

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