Defendant bound over on 2nd-degree murder charge

LEAVENWORTH — A judge has bound over a case of a Leavenworth woman who is facing a second-degree murder in connection to the death of her son.

Catherine M. Smith, 31, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Nov, 29, 2018, death of her 19-month-old son.

Smith is not accused of intentionally killing the boy. But the death is alleged to have resulted from reckless behavior under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Smith is alleged to have left her son in a room where the temperature exceeded 90 degrees without checking on him for an extended period.

In court Friday, District Judge Michael Gibbens bound the case over for a trial. But the judge admitted he struggled over whether to bind the case over for the second-degree murder charge or a less severe charge of involuntary manslaughter.

“I’m really struggling with it,” he said.

Gibbens said he believes prosecutors had met the probable cause standard for the preliminary hearing phase to bind over the case for the second-degree murder charge.

Gibbens denied the request to release Smith on her own recognizance. But he reduced the bond to $25,000 with a supervision requirement if Smith is able to post bond. The judge also said Smith would not be allowed to have contact with children under the age of 12 if she is released on bond.