News

Kent woman charged with murder for stabbing death of husband in car

A 45-year-old Kent woman has been charged with second-degree murder for the stabbing death of her husband in the backseat of a Honda Accord as a relative drove through Kent.

Janice Marie Burrell is accused of the May 25 stabbing death with a knife of Arthur D. Smith, 41. She is scheduled to be arraigned on June 11 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Burrell is in the county jail in Seattle with bail set at $1 million.

Prosecutors requested the high bail for Burrell because of "the nature of the charge, community safety and history of failure to appear (in court)," according to charging papers. Burrell has two felony drug convictions, numerous arrests for assault, three convictions for assault as well as convictions for public disturbance, alcohol and drug violations, false reporting and theft.

One of the first Kent Police officers to respond to the stabbing at about 6:49 p.m. outside of the Kent MultiCare Clinic, 222 State Ave. N., recognized Burrell and Smith due to numerous contacts with the couple.

The officer asked Burrell what she had done.

"You know me, you know me," said Burrell, even calling the officer by her maiden name. "I killed him, I killed him. You know what he does to me."

The officer than asked Burrell if she was injured.

"No, I ain't," she said. "I am so tired of him beating on me."

Officers detained Burrell because they found Smith sitting with a stab wound in the back seat of the car with his head back against the seat and because of the amount of blood on Burrell's clothing.

Blood soaked the front of Smith's shirt. He had a small cut in his shirt near the center of his chest. He had a cut on his right hand and about a one-inch stab wound in his chest. Officers pulled Smith out of the vehicle. He died at the scene.

A 29-year-old nephew of Smith and Smith's teenage son met Smith and Burrell May 25 at 7-Eleven at 511 Central Ave. S. in Kent.

The couple got into the backseat of the car. The nephew told detectives he didn't really know where he was going and just drove where directed as Smith and Burrell argued about everything and nothing in particular. He said it was typical behavior for the couple.

He drove near Earthworks Park when he heard what sounded like a slapping, looked in the rearview mirror and saw Smith with his head far back against the seat rest. He asked Burrell if she had stabbed Smith.

"Yeah, I'll stab him again," Burrell replied, according to charging papers.

The nephew decided to drive to a hospital when he saw the MultiCare Clinic and pulled into the parking lot. He told Smith's son to run inside and get help. A clinic staff member called police. The nephew said he exited the car along with Burrell and saw her holding a knife. He took the knife from her, put it on the ground at first and later on top of the car. He then began to apply pressure to Smith's stab wound.

The nephew told detectives that Burrell stood and watched and seemed proud of what she did as she remained calm and even puffed her chest out proudly.

Burrell told detectives at the Kent city jail that she had three "211" beers earlier in the day, including one just prior to the stabbing. Steel Reserve 211 is a malt liquor with 8.1 percent alcohol.

She told detectives that Smith is "always beating on me and spitting on me." She said they argued in the car.

"I just got tired of it," Burrell said. "I just snapped."

Burrell claimed Smith told her just prior to the stabbing that, "Bitch, I do this to you. I do what I want to you."

She told detectives the knife belonged to her husband and had been in their bedroom in case they needed protection. She said she had the knife in her back pants pocket prior to the stabbing.

"Karma is a bitch and he got what he deserves," Burrell said. "I just pulled it out and I stabbed him. I just reacted on him."

Editor's note: The relationship between the teenager and Smith has been corrected after incorrect information in the initial posting of the story because of an error in the probable cause documents.


View Larger Map

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Nov 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates