Woman accused of kidnapping Beloit newborn appears in court

Kristen Smith's trial scheduled for July 28

A woman accused of kidnapping a Beloit infant was in federal court in Madison Thursday morning trying to suppress evidence in the case against her.

Authorities said Kristen Smith, 31, of Colorado, took her half-sister’s 5-day-old son from a Beloit home on Feb 6. Kayden Powell was found alive in a bin outside an Iowa gas station 29 hours later in freezing temperatures.

Smith was arrested and later was charged with federal kidnapping.

Smith was in court Thursday to get evidence against her suppressed from the case. The defense argued she was coerced into signing a document and wasn’t given an attorney the first time she requested one.

Smith testified in court saying she was denied an attorney at the first mention.

“Under case law, if you request an attorney, unless the defendant does something to re-initiate contact with the law enforcement, they are supposed to honor that request and get you an attorney,”  said Matt Noel, Smith’s attorney.

Video clips of Smith being questioned showed agents struggling with Smith’s phone when she first mentioned an attorney. The statement she made was interpreted differently by the defense and an FBI agent. The agent said Smith was demonstrating her cooperation, but the defense claimed it was a request for an attorney.

Smith later failed a polygraph exam and asked for an attorney hours later when she was asked to consent to a search of her email. The questioning ended.

“The defense did argue that Ms. Smith was coerced into making any statements or confessions and evidence we put on, we believe there was no coercion involved,” said Julie Pfluger, U.S. assistant attorney.

The defense also said Smith wasn’t read her rights before the FBI interview and prosecutors agreed that about two hours of the interview shouldn’t be used in court.

The trial for Smith has been scheduled for July 28.