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Man sentenced in 2020 killing of his wife in Littleton basement

Kanokwan Nok Smith.jpg
Posted at 12:22 PM, Mar 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-10 14:22:10-05

GOLDEN, Colo. — A man convicted of murdering his wife in their Littleton home's basement was sentenced to several decades in prison on Wednesday.

Scott Lee Smith II, 47, was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 years in the Department of Corrections in connection with the murder of his wife, Kanokwan “Nok” Smith, 46. At the time, the two were in the middle of a pending divorce and had a 10-year-old daughter.

In court, Chief Deputy District Attorney Tyra Forbes said there was significant evidence to prove that Smith had planned the murder. He had "concerning behavior" in the months leading up the murder. This included surveilling his wife, setting odd calendar reminders and obsessing over what would happen to her money once the divorce was finalized, Forbes said.

He was a mental health counselor at the time.

Nok told family and friends that she was afraid of Smith and was trying to escape him. She allowed him to live in the basement of the home while she stayed upstairs.

“Smith also exhibited highly suspicious behavior on the day of the murder," Forbes added. "He texted Nok instructing her to put her ring in the safe, halted payment on a check, and several hours before the 911 call, he no call-no showed a longstanding weekly therapy session.”

The murder happened on Nov. 1, 2020. Around 7:14 p.m. that day, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from Smith, who claimed that he had shot his wife in self-defense in the basement of their Littleton home along W. Ottawa Avenue. He said his wife tried to kill him with a butcher knife. When the dispatcher asked where she was shot, the line disconnected, according to an arrest affidavit.

Littleton husband says he killed wife out of self-defense, neighbors remain skeptical

Court documents revealed he had filed for divorce 11 days before the shooting.

Smith was taken into custody the following day, Nov. 2, 2020. He did not have any visible injuries, the affidavit notes, and deputies did not see any signs of struggle on the main floor when they responded to the shooting.

When they went in the basement, they saw Nok's body. A knife was later found under her right calf. A black handgun was about four or five feet away from her, according to the affidavit.

The sheriff's office obtained a search warrant for the home on Nov. 2, 2020.

Smith was released five days after the shooting due to lack of evidence.

An autopsy revealed that she had been shot and the bullet had traveled from the middle of her nose and stopped just under the skin in the back of her neck, according to the affidavit. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

During the investigation, authorities learned that after Smith was taken into custody, he called his mother and asked her to recover covert surveillance cameras. Investigators later learned all three cameras — which would have shown the events that happened in the home — were missing.

They tried to talk with Smith, but he refused and requested an attorney.

Investigators then contacted his mother, Theresa Rino, at her Littleton home. She agreed to come in for an interview and stated her son had called her and said Nok "came at him with a butcher knife, he feared for his life, and he had to shoot her," according to the affidavit. She explained the two had had an estranged relationship for many years and Smith had been living in the basement while Nok lived upstairs. Rino said Smith had recently filed for divorce after he found evidence that Nok had property and financial assets that he did not know about, including a nail salon in Colorado Springs and property in Hawaii, according to the affidavit. She had also deducted $90,000 from a college account and taken out a $1,000,000 life insurance policy on Smith, Rino told investigators.

The sheriff's office also spoke with a friend of Nok, who came to her crying after she said Smith told their daughter about the divorce. Nok told her that Smith had made allegations about her moving large amounts of money. The friend told investigators she knew Nok sent money to her mother in Thailand periodically. Nok told her that she "feared for her life because Scott had a lot of guns," and worried that he may try to kill her and take her money, according to the affidavit.

The search warrant included a report showing cameras in the home, but police could not find them after the initial search. When they asked Rino about the cameras, she said she had not seen any.

On Nov. 7, 2020, investigators obtained a search warrant again for the Smith home specifically to search for the cameras. When they arrived, they found Smith and his father moving belongings from the house into two vehicles. The cars were searched but the cameras were not found. Inside the home, they found a duffel bag that appeared to be packed in preparation to move elsewhere. In a small canvas bag, investigators found two black USB phone charger-style cameras with SD cards. However, the three USB-style cameras that Scott mentioned to his mother were never located. Investigators determined that those three cameras — one above the knife drawer and two in the basement — were removed between Nov. 5 and 7.

Almost one year later, on Sept. 24, 2021, Smith was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

On Oct. 1, 2021, his mother, who is now 67, was charged with accessory to a crime, attempted tampering with evidence and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence. She pleaded not guilty to these charges. She is expected in court on Friday.

On Feb. 9, Smith pleaded guilty to an added count of second-degree murder.

In court this week, prosecutors stipulated to a 30-year prison sentence as a result of his guilty plea, according to the district attorney's office.

The room was filled with Nok's family and loved ones from Thailand, many of whom watched virtually. Nok was described as a hardworking and selfless mother, sister, daughter and friend. She worked multiple jobs to provide for people around her, including Smith.

Friends previously told Denver7 that Smith "wasn't the kind of person you ever wanted to see (Nok) with."

Following arrests, friends of slain Littleton woman reflect on her life and love for others

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