A Friday court hearing included a warning of contempt and a failed Alford plea but yielded no resolution in a Beloit sexual assault cold case now set for trial Monday.
Jason A. Smith, 43, of Beloit, faces two counts of sexual assault of a child while armed for the attack on a 13-year-old girl in July 2000. Smith is serving a 50-year sentence for the October 2000 sexual assaults of two teen girls in Beloit.
In court Friday, defense attorney Shanna Knueppel asked Rock County Judge Karl Hanson to allow Smith to enter an Alford plea to not admit to the criminal act but admit the evidence likely would result in a conviction.
Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Amber Hahn spoke sharply against Hanson accepting an Alford plea, saying it would not provide closure for the victim.
“... It does not serve justice to let (Smith) continue to proclaim innocence. ... He’s trying to exert control over this situation,” Hahn said.
Knueppel said avoiding a trial would be in the interest of all parties involved.
“This seems like nothing more than a political move to go through this public spectacle of the trial,” Knueppel said.
Hanson rejected the Alford plea, saying it would not be “in the public interest.”
At the end of the hearing, Knueppel raised the issue of a possible appeal. While on the topic, she used the term “asinine” when discussing the hypothetical logic of what might prevent an appeal in the future.
Hanson warned Knueppel she would be held in contempt of court if she cursed in his courtroom in the future.
The new charges against Smith stem from an assault in an alleyway on Sixth Street in Beloit. The criminal complaint says Smith raped the girl at gunpoint.
Smith was charged in 2018 after his DNA was found in a rape kit from the assault, according to the criminal complaint.
Smith’s trial is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Monday.