The woman accused of stabbing her longtime boyfriend to death in August pleaded not guilty today to the murder charge lodged against her.
Jacqueline Smalls, 50, appeared with her attorney, Adam Parisi, responding to an indictment lodged against her last week charging her with second-degree murder in the killing of 51-year-old Adrian L. King.
Earlier in 2012, King was charged three separate times with either choking Smalls or preventing her from calling police, court records have indicated. After King’s killing, though, police said there was no evidence he attacked her the night of his death.
After Tuesday’s appearance, Parisi declined to indicate what defense he would pursue. Asked about the police indication that there was no evidence King attacked Smalls that night, he did respond.
“If you don’t look, you don’t find it,” he said. “If you don’t have an open mind, you don’t see it.”
An emotional Smalls appeared before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino, dabbing her eyes with a tissue repeatedly. At one point, Giardino asked if she understood what was going on. Smalls responded that she did, a little.
“Do you know how serious this is?” he asked.
She said she did.
The murder count means prosecutors contend that Smalls intended to cause King’s death when she stabbed him in the chest at their 1512 Van Vranken Ave. apartment late on Aug. 26. It was an upgrade from the first-degree manslaughter charge initially filed against her.
The case is being prosecuted by Christina Tremante-Pelham.
Also in the indictment is a misdemeanor menacing count, accusing Smalls of menacing King by displaying a deadly weapon at the apartment July 30. Also July 30, King was charged in an incident where Smalls was deemed the victim.
At that point, Smalls was already wanted by authorities. Smalls had been indicted for alleged drug sales earlier in the year. A problem with the warrant, in part traced to communication issues between the police and district attorney’s office, led to Smalls not being taken into custody on the drug charge.
In the drug case, she faces two felony counts each of third-degree criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance. That case is set for trial next week.
Smalls is to return to court Friday for consideration of a plea offer.