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Stevensville Teen arraigned on murder charge

10-21-2010 Michigan:

Motive said to be alleged molestation

Today brought new information as to why a Stevensville teen allegedly killed his mother’s boyfriend last September.

15 year old Josh Wayne Smith was arraigned in a Berrien County courtroom on Wednesday.

Smith is charged with the September 23rd beating death of 44 year old David Loveland.

Smith and Loveland lived in the same home at the time.

According to today’s testimony Smith had been told that Loveland may have molested a niece of Smith’s.

Smith then confronted Loveland inside the home, according to Lincoln Township Police Officer Todd Hopke. “He told me he confronted David Loveland as he was sitting on the couch, over an allegation that David Loveland may have molested a niece of his. “He told me he walked up to him and he called him a sick mother ------ and at that time David got up off the couch and shoved him, and then sat back down. “From there, Josh said that he just started punching David.”

According to Hopke, Smith also said he had Loveland in a headlock when Smith used his knee to strike Loveland in the head.

Loveland died from a blunt force trauma head injury.

Hopke described the physical confrontation as being one sided: that Loveland raised his arms to cover his head and curled his body up into a fetal position.

During cross examination Smith’s defense attorney emphasized that there was no evidence that any weapon had been used in the beating.

Officer Hopke was the first officer called to the scene on the night in question.

Hopke said the initial complaint had to do with a group of teens walking down the street.

When Hopke arrived on scene, he saw Smith run away.

Officer Hopke pursued the suspect and found Smith hiding in the back seat of a friend’s parked car at the Pizza Hut.

According to Hopke, Smith explained that he ran away because he “just beat the ---- out of David Loveland and didn’t want to get in trouble.”

That led Officer Hopke back to Smith’s home, where the body of Loveland was first discovered.

Judge John Donahue today determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the charge that Smith was behind the beating death of Loveland.

While Smith today came to court to face a serious legal situation—he didn’t have to face it alone. About a dozen Smith supporters sat in the gallery, six of them had customized t-shirts with Smith’s photograph on the front, while the back of the shirt carried the phrase “Support Josh Wayne.”

For his part, Smith today spent much of the 22 minute hearing staring straight down into his lap. At one point Smith appeared to be crying as he was handed a tissue by a court worker.

The judge set November 17th as the date for Smith’s next hearing. That’s when prosecutors will ask to have the case moved to adult court. In the meantime, Smith will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. ..Source.. by Mark Peterson

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