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A Colorado man has been arrested for a second time in the death of his wife, nearly one year after claiming to have killed her in self-defense.
Scott Lee Smith, 46, was initially arrested for shooting his wife, Kanokwan ‘Nok’ Smith, 47, at their Littleton home on Nov. 1, 2020, according to The Denver Channel. Smith said that Kanokwan tried to kill him with a butcher knife, leaving him no choice but to shoot her.
Deputies responded after Smith called them to report he’d shot his wife, according to a press release from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested on the scene and charged with first-degree murder but released several days later when prosecutors stated the evidence at the time “was not sufficient to support criminal charges.”
On Sept. 24, 2021, Smith was rearrested on charges of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and domestic violence.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Director of Public Affairs Jenny Fulton spoke to Oxygen.com about the decision to arrest Smith for the second time.
“The DA’s office wanted more evidence; any DA’s office is probably a little reluctant to prosecute unless they feel like there’s enough evidence to win their case,” said Fulton. “So they requested that we continue our efforts and if we were able to develop a stronger case, then they would consider prosecution again.”
On Friday, Scott Smith’s mother, Theresa Rino, 66, was also arrested in connection to the murder, according to the sheriff’s office. She is charged with being an accessory to the crime, attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence.
“We worked the case very hard, and we were able to get it to a point where the DA’s office is comfortable enough bringing charges against Scott Smith and his mom,” Fulton told Oxygen.com. “We believe that she [Rino] helped Scott conceal or dispose of evidence.”
Kanokwan’s death rattled the Littleton community.
“She’ll never be able to wrap her arms around her little girl again, and he shouldn’t have the right,” said Kanokwan’s long-time friend, Dominique Naylor, according to The Denver Channel. “He shouldn’t be out, and he shouldn’t be free.”
Kanokwan was a card dealer at the Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk, according to NBC affiliate News 9. According to the outlet, Scott Smith had filed for divorce just weeks before the shooting.
“It just seems so unfair to live in a world that doesn’t have her in it because she’s just so kind and worked so hard,” continued Naylor, who said Kanokwan juggled several jobs. “How could anyone hurt her?”
Scott Smith is scheduled back in court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 8, according to his booking information.
Rino’s bond has been set at $5,000.