Man who strangled ex’s 2-year-old daughter and dumped her body in alley admits to slaying


Rashad Trice, 26, kidnapped Wynter Cole-Smith, 2, from her mother's home in Lansing, Michigan, killed her, and abandoned her body in a Detroit alley, authorities said. (Image of Trice: Macomb County Prosecutor's Office; image of Cole-Smith: Lansing Police Department)

Rashad Trice, 26, allegedly kidnapped Wynter Cole-Smith, 2, from her mother’s home in Lansing, Michigan, killed her, and abandoned her body in an alley. (Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office/Lansing Police Department)

When Rashad Maleek Trice was first charged with kidnapping Wynter-Cole Smith, 2, and strangling her to death with a pink cellphone charging cord, he pleaded not guilty. But according to a new agreement with prosecutors, he has now admitted to killing the girl and dumping her body in an alley near Young International Airport in Michigan.

The change of plea was entered on Friday and a review of the federal court docket in Western District of Michigan confirms he will be sentenced on July 19 before U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, an appointee of former President George W. Bush. Trice’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to a copy of the new plea agreement, Trice, 26, has admitted to getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend and Cole-Smith’s mother before kidnapping the girl. Trice was not the girl’s father, records show.

He kidnapped the child from her Lansing home on July 2, 2023, drove her in a Chevrolet Impala into Detroit and then “throughout the night [he] repeatedly played a YouTube video on the internet in an attempt to pacify the victim.”

Then, “defendant took the victim to an alley between Olympia Street and Edgewood Avenue in Detroit, where he strangled the victim to death with a pink cell phone cord,” the March 22 plea agreement states.

By traveling from Lansing to Detroit on interstate highways and even by using a cellphone manufactured in a place outside of Michigan to show Cole-Smith videos online, Trice acknowledged that he used multiple means of interstate commerce in the commission of the crime.

Records show Trice was arrested hours after the kidnapping following a short car chase with police but the girl’s body was not located immediately. Using phone location data, FBI agents and local police eventually found Cole-Smith’s body in an alley three days after initiating the search.

As Law&Crime previously reported, the kidnapping was kicked off after Trice allegedly stabbed and sexually assaulting Cole-Smith’s then 22-year-old mother. Charges in that case are being handled separately by state prosecutors, according to Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV.

When he was finally apprehended last July for the kidnapping, police body camera footage showed Trice telling one officer as he was being handcuffed: “I’ll probably do the rest of my life in prison.”

That is, in fact, the maximum sentence he now faces. Prosecutors have also recommended a fine of no less than $250,000 and, should he not receive a life sentence, he would be under no more than five years of supervised release. U.S. Attorney Mark Totten disclosed in October that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

In exchange for his guilty plea on the federal kidnapping resulting in death charge, prosecutors have offered to drop other charges including a federal kidnapping of a minor charge.

It is unclear how this will affect his state charges, including those involving Cole-Smith’s mother. Since he is accused of committing crimes in multiple counties, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel consolidated charges into a single case last year. Nessel did not immediately return a request for comment Friday but a statement on the attorney general’s website from last July shows Trice was facing a slew of charges, including two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, a second-degree domestic violence charge, stalking and more.

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