- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Kidnapping defendant: Dad asked her to take child

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Colorado woman accused of kidnapping her half sister’s newborn in Wisconsin and abandoning him in Iowa testified Wednesday that she took the 4-day-old at the father’s request, knowing the parents would be moving in with her in the next few days.

Kristen Smith also testified that when she left the boy in a plastic tote outside in freezing temperatures, she put him by the front corner of a gas station so she could make sure his electric blanket was plugged in.

Smith, of Aurora, Colorado, is charged with kidnapping Kayden Powell on Feb. 6 and abandoning him in Iowa. A police chief found Kayden alive and well after the boy spent 29 hours in subfreezing temperatures.

Smith testified that her 18-year-old half sister, Brianna Marshall, had been having problems at home. Marshall’s mother kicked her out of the house, Smith said, and with nowhere to go she hoped to move to Denver to be with Smith and go to college.

The plan was for Smith to drive home to Colorado, with Marshall joining her a few days later along with the baby’s father, 23-year-old Bruce Powell, Smith testified.

They all spent the night at the home of the baby’s great-uncle, Mark Bennett, in the Town of Beloit. Smith said she decided to leave at 2 a.m. to avoid driving through larger cities at hours when traffic would be worst.

Smith said she swaddled the baby and handed him to the father, but when she went to hug Powell goodbye he swayed unsteadily.

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Kidnapping defendant wails on stand, prompts break

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The federal trial of a Colorado woman accused of kidnapping her half-sister’s newborn in Wisconsin and abandoning him in Iowa has been halted briefly after the defendant began sobbing uncontrollably on the witness stand.

Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colorado, testified Wednesday that she took the baby at the father’s urging, since the parents were planning to move in with her.

Under cross-examination, she had trouble answering even simple questions. She said she didn’t know where she was born, whether she had any previous convictions or whether she lived in Wisconsin in 2010.

Frustrated prosecutors held a private meeting with the judge and defense attorney, while Smith sat with her sweater covering her eyes. Before questioning resumed she asked for a break, then began wailing as jurors were led from the courtroom.

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