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Trial begins for suspected serial rapist Ikeie Smith for sexual assaults across Metro Detroit

Police say incidents date back to 2011

DETROIT – The trial for a suspected serial rapist accused of committing sexual assaults across Metro Detroit began Monday.

Ikeie Ranordo Smith, 32, of Redford Township, is facing charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree home invasion and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

Smith is charged in Allen Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster and Redford Township.

According to police, the incidents date back to 2011.

Trial begins with rocky start

“I appreciate the court appointing me counsel to assist me since I cannot afford my own, however my family has currently obtained funds necessary to hire counsel of my choice,” Smith said.

Smith told the judge that Carl Jordan was retained as his new attorney and that he would like to withdraw from the appointed counsel due to a break down in the attorney-client relationship.

The judge told Smith that Jordan has not filed the proper paperwork to change attorneys. Prosecutors called it a stalling tactic.

Smith said that his appointed attorneys were not helping him prepare a defense and at one point stood up claiming the Dearborn Police Department didn’t follow procedures in gathering evidence.

“Sit down and be quiet,” the judge said. “That’s the best way to deal with this.”

One of the jurors told the judge that she has a trip planned and he excused her from jury duty. A recess was called until the alternate juror could be made available.

Prosecutor makes opening statement; defense reserves

The prosecutor told the jury that the case is going to feel a little like time travel since some of the incidents date back to 2011.

She told them that they will watch video testimony of Smith talking to investigators about his alleged crimes.

“You’re going to hear, and you’re going to watch him on video say what he has to say about the accusations against him,” the prosecutor said. “One of the things you’re going to hear him say is, ‘I knew I was wrong; sometimes you can’t control your urges.’”

She told them many of the details of each case Smith is charged in and how the cases are connected by DNA.

The defense reserved their opening statement and court went to lunch.

Victim from 2011 takes the stand

One of the victims in the case took the stand, recalling the events of the night she was assaulted in Inkster back in 2011.

A cigarette butt was found in her bedroom that allegedly belonged to Smith. She told prosecutors that she doesn't smoke now and didn't smoke in 2011.

The defense attorney asked about her ability to recognize Smith and about when the cigarette butt was found.

The woman’s injuries were also discussed at length. 

Officer called to testify

Officer Derrick Harris was at the scene in Inkster as an evidence technician.

Harris collected some of the evidence at the scene, including a window screen that was cut and the cigarette butt collected from the bedroom. He told the jury about how the evidence was collected.

Harris said a doorknob was removed from the home as evidence and fingerprints were lifted from a mirror in the bedroom.

The defense didn’t have any questions for Harris.

Former Inkster detective, officer called to testify

Former police officer Fitzpatrick McLaughlin was briefly called to the stand and discussed his role as the officer in charge at the scene in 2011.

The defense had no questions for him.

Officer Christopher Kososki took the stand and discussed the evidence he handled. Prosecutors questioned Kososki about the cigarette butt and the doorknob taken from the scene, as well as the fingerprints lifted from the scene.

The defense also had no questions for him.

Crime lab technician discusses buccle swab

Officer Eric Kushner was called to testify about a buccle swab that was taken from Smith on September 7, 2016.

A buccle swab is a way to collect DNA from the cells on the inside of a person’s cheek.

Kushner told the prosecutor that he witnessed the sample being taken from Smith and discussed how the evidence was logged.

Again, the defense had no questions for the witness.

Details of case

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad addressed the community when Smith was taken into custody, detailing the arrest of the suspected serial rapist and the case against the man.

"I appreciate the public's support and patience while we continue this investigation," Haddad said. "Investigations of this type are complicated and time consuming and, while it is importnat to notify the public of current events, it is most important that we do not do anything to compromise the investigation."

The chief said a pattern was noticed in home invasions near the border between Dearborn and Allen Park in July 2015. The home invasions involved some sort of completed or attempted sexual assault. Neighboring jurisdictions had received several more incidents which appeared to be similar.

Haddad said at least three of the cases happened in Dearborn.

A multi-jurisdictional task force was created in November 2015 involving police departments in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Allen Park, Redford Township, Inkster and Garden City, as well as the Michigan State Police, FBI, MDOC and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

The FBI behavioral scientists labeled the suspect as a “power reassurance rapist.”

“There’s no more power he holds over the people,” Haddad said. “I can assure you he’ll be in jail for a long time.”

Surveillance video of a suspect in the backyard of a Livonia home helped in naming a person of interest.

“This particular nightmare that has plagued our community and our region for a long time is over,” Haddad said.

Authorities believe there are a minimum of 35 cases in the region they suspect Smith is responsible for.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also spoke at the news conference.

“In our region, law enforcement comes together time and time again without borders,” O’Reilly said. “Crime doesn’t care about boundaries.”

Timeline

The Dearborn Police Department released a timeline of events related to the serial rapes and home invasions across the region. 

Background

According to police, Smith was arrested in connection with a series of home invasions and sexual assaults across the metro area.

Police said the incidents date back to 2011 and involve at least eight jurisdictions.

Smith was taken into custody by Dearborn police within a mile of where a number of the home invasions occurred, police said.

"The arrest of this suspect will hopefully provide closure to our victims and it is important to note that all members of this task force have expended an enormous amount of resources and energy into this investigation," Haddad said. "This collaborative effort along with citizen cooperation has resulted in a very dangerous predator being taken off the streets."

The FBI, MSP, Livonia Police Department, Dearborn Police Department and a number of other police agencies across the metro area participated in the investigation.

Painful flashback

Local 4 spoke to a sexual assault victim who says the description of Smith matches the man who attacked her in 2012.

The woman was just a teen at the time of the attack. She said a man came into her Dearborn Heights home when her mother was at work and attacked her while she was in her bedroom.

"He said if I moved he'd kill me," she said about the attack. "It's just really scary."

The woman said she was able to escape the man, but her mother says the memory of the attack still lingers.

"We have all the windows blocked with something still," the victim's mother said. "It's been four years since that happened and it still lingers. It's horrible."

Stay with Local 4 and ClickonDetroit.com as more information becomes available.