Los Angeles: North Hollywood Area Homicide Detectives have identified the suspect wanted for the shooting death of 73-year-old Rupert Thompson 16 years ago, who unwittingly interrupted a burglary at his residence.
On January 26, 1994, North Hollywood Area Officers responded to a radio call in the 11100 block of Aqua Vista Street to investigate reports of a screaming man. When they arrived they found Thompson lying in his front yard, suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper torso.
Investigators learned that Thompson and his wife had been asleep in their bedroom when they were awakened by noises coming from another room in their home. Thompson went to investigate the noise and was met by an armed male Black at the bedroom door. The suspect shot both Thompson and his wife in the upper torso. His wife collapsed in the bedroom, but Thompson chased the suspect out of the house screaming for help before collapsing in the front yard.
Mrs. Thompson recovered from her physical wounds, but Mr. Thompson was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. The suspect escaped.
After an exhaustive investigation, the case went cold. That is until about a year ago when Detective Steve Castro began a comprehensive re-examination of the file and evidence. One aspect of the investigation involved analyzing the physical evidence in hopes that the latest technology would provide a DNA profile. Fortunately, it did. A foreign DNA genetic profile from the crime scene was uploaded into the California Department of Justice, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) databank. It returned a “cold hit” CODIS match on Kevin Bernard Smith.
Smith had been serving a prison sentence in Mississippi State Prison for an unrelated narcotics trafficking conviction. In late September 2010 Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon of the Hardcore Prosecution Unit, filed Capital Murder charges against Smith. Smith was returned to California and is currently being held at the California Institute for Men in Chino, awaiting his arraignment for Murder with Special Circumstances.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call North Hollywood Homicide Detectives, Detective Steve Castro at 818-623-4075. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800)-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most key pads) using a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “web tips” and follow the prompts.