Wynter Cole-Smith kidnapping suspect pleads guilty to murder of girl that triggered Amber Alert

The man charged with the kidnapping and murder of Wynter Cole-Smith last summer has pleaded guilty to one of the charges Monday.

Rashad Maleek Trice, 27, pleaded guilty in Ingham County circuit court to one count each of first-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the death of the 2-year-old and the assault of her mother.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  After being charged federally, he could have faced the death penalty but the U.S. Attorney's Office did not seek this punishment.

The abduction of Wynter Cole Smith triggered an Amber Alert and a frantic state-wide search for the little girl on July 2.

"The scars left by Mr. Trice’s horrific and brutal crime spree will forever etch themselves on the lives he shattered," said Attorney General Dana Nessel. "While nothing can ever fully heal the grief of Wynter’s family and loved ones, I hope today’s plea can be a step toward healing."

Wynter Smith

Wynter Smith

Authorities say Trice sexually assaulted and stabbed a woman before kidnapping her 2-year-old daughter, later identified as Wynter Cole-Smith, on July 2, 2023 in Lansing. 

More coverage:

Wynter Cole-Smith kidnapping suspect Rashad Trice bound over for trial

Feds: No death penalty for suspect in Wynter Smith Amber Alert murder

Trice was arrested in St. Clair Shores after a police chase, and Wynter's body was found in Detroit following a three-day search. 

Trice will be sentenced on Aug. 16.

Rashad Trice. Inset: Wynter Smith

Rashad Trice. Inset: Wynter Smith