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A transient couple from California has pleaded guilty for their role in the murder of a Good Samaritan.
Caitlin Rose Crenshaw and Cody Brandon Huynh, both 24, face 30 year sentences for stabbing Kimberly “Sky” Smith, 55, to death in her home, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. In exchange for their guilty pleas, both defendants now have the possibility of parole.
Crenshaw and Huynh were arrested last April on charges of murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit crime, according to Santa Cruz County arrest records.
In a separate incident on Feb. 26, 2020, Crenshaw and Huynh also allegedly attacked an elderly couple in Santa Barbara, according to the Pajaronian.
Detectives located Huynh in a San Bernardino jail on unrelated charges, while Crenshaw was found in Smith’s missing car, according to a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office press release. Investigators believe robbery was the motive.
“In large part, we’re happy that there was a successful resolution wherein the defendants took responsibility for their incredibly callous and serious acts of violence against a member of our community,” Assistant District Attorney Conor McCormick told Oxygen.com.
Witnesses testified earlier this year that Smith met the couple on March 23, 2020, while making donations at a local downtown church, according to the Sentinel. Smith invited Crenshaw and Huynh into her home to shower and get cleaned up.
Surveillance footage also captured Smith taking the couple shopping days after taking them in, including on March 31, the day Smith was murdered.
Crenshaw and Huynh stabbed Smith in the head, neck, and torso a total of 31 times, according to the Sentinel. They then stole her car and drove hundreds of miles from Santa Cruz County to San Bernardino County.
The father of Kimberly “Sky” Smith’s discovered his daughter’s body at her studio apartment, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. She'd been stabbed with her own kitchen knife
Investigators testified that they discovered journals belonging to the duo at Smith’s home and that they contained descriptive entries of violent fantasies, according to the Sentinel. One such story included Crenshaw and Huynh gaining a stranger’s trust before stabbing them, stealing their possessions, and living “happily ever after.”
While detectives testified last February about one of the journals titled “Happy Thoughts,” Crenshaw laughed in the courtroom.
“It’s not very becoming of someone who’s charged with murder,” said Judge Stephen Siegel.
Crenshaw and Huynh gave varying accounts as to why they killed Smith, according to the Sentinel. At one point, they told detectives it was because Smith was “flaunting cash.”
“It was an incredibly violent case,” McCormick told Oxygen.com. “And that can’t be understated.”
McCormick told Oxygen.com that Smith's family will have the opportunity to share a victim impact statement at sentencing scheduled for Aug. 31, 2021.
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