A 32-year-old Redford Township man accused in a string of home invasions and sexual assaults turned down a plea offer Friday that would have allowed most charges against him to be dismissed.
Ikeie Smith will instead go to trial March 6 on charges in connection with nine home invasions and rapes in western Wayne County communities in 2014 and 2016. Smith is suspected of home invasions and rapes in 35 Metro Detroit communities going back five years.
Smith was charged in cases involving attacks in Allen Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Garden City and Inkster. He was arrested last September by officers from a multi-jurisdictional task force including Michigan State Police and the FBI.
In total, Smith faces 30 charges, ranging from home invasion to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The plea deal would have dropped most charges, including torture and assault, against Smith if he had pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. It was Smith’s defense attorney who requested the plea offer even though the defendant later rejected it.
Last week, assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Danielle Bennetts told Third Circuit Cynthia Gray Hathaway during a final pre-trial conference that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wanted to offer Smith an “extremely, extremely reasonable” plea deal of 35 to 70 years behind bars.
On Friday, Smith’s defense attorney, Wyatt Harris, said in court Smith “indicated to me he wishes to go to trial.” Harris said he consulted with Smith on Wednesday and Friday before court. Smith stood quietly next to his attorney and answered only to the judge’s questions. It was a departure from past court appearances by the defendant.
Harris said under the plea offer, Smith could well be looking at 50 years behind bars even if Hathaway offered the defendant 24-45 years in prison.
At trial, he could face 141/2-21 years in prison if found guilty of one court of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, he said.
Hathaway set a March 3 motion hearing for Smith before his trial is scheduled to begin.
Smith is accused of breaking into the homes and other residences of his alleged victims. During a preliminary for Smith last October, a Dearborn Heights woman testified she prayed herself out of a potentially worse sexual assault by her attacker, authorities identify as Smith.
The woman said a man broke into her Cornell Street home around 4 a.m. Dec. 9, 2013, and got on top of her and forced her to touch his genitalia. She said she begged the suspect not to further sexually assault her by telling him she had been raped before and telling him “I can’t go through this again.”
The Detroit News generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The woman said she prayed and told her attacker that he could make better choices by making a decision not to assault her any further.
The victim said the suspect then told her she was protected by the “veil” of God. He paced around her bedroom, she said, while saying, “Why did I pick this house. ... Why did I pick this house?”
The woman, in her 30s, said the suspect told her he “believed the devil and Satan had entered him, causing him to do these things.”
He left the house without further assaulting her, the woman testified.