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News Smith pleads guilty in fatal stabbing incident

Robert Benjamin Smith, 24, of Cherokee, NC, has entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Bryson City on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to second degree murder in connection with his involvement in a Oct. 22, 2010, fatal stabbing incident which occurred on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

According to official court documents, on Oct. 22, 2010 after having spent the day together drinking beer and using drugs, the defendant and victim got into a fight which resulted in the victim being stabbed to death. On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Smith entered a guilty plea to one count of second degree murder, a lesser-included offense of first degree murder. The plea was offered pursuant to a plea agreement. Smith had previously been charged in a one count federal bill of indictment filed on Dec. 7, 2010 with one count alleging first degree murder.

He will be sentenced at a later date, and will remain in local federal custody until that time. He is currently facing a maximum statutory penalty of any number of months, up to life, in prison.

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