Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Born Smith (age 31), of Providence, pleaded guilty today before Superior Court Justice Sarah Taft-Carter to one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree arson. Under the terms of the plea, Smith was sentenced to life in prison on each count with the sentences to run concurrent.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on November 13, 2015, Smith bludgeoned to death Aliss Collins, who was eight months pregnant at the time with Smith's baby, and then set fire to her apartment in attempt to cover up the murder.
At approximately 7:45 that evening, Cranston Police and Fire were dispatched to 35-37 Marcy Street in Cranston for a report of a possible structure fire at that address. Upon their arrival, the first responders determined that there was a fire on the third floor. Upon entering the apartment, they discovered Aliss laying on the bathroom floor suffering from severe head injuries.
She was removed from the residence by rescue personnel, and transported her to Rhode Island Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased. The medical examiner performed an autopsy on November 15, 2015, and ruled the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries, smoke inhalation, and increased levels of carbon monoxide, and ruled the manner of death as homicide.
Once the fire was extinguished at Marcy Street, arson investigators conducted an investigation into the cause of the fire. It was determined that the fire was set deliberately at approximately the same time as the attack on Aliss Collins.
Cranston Police recovered several pieces of evidence that were tied to the defendant and these crimes. A fire extinguisher, identified by the owner of the building as having been located outside of the third-floor apartment, was found on the second floor of the building. It was covered in blood that was identified as the victim's and the defendant's palm print was found on the extinguisher in the blood. A work phone assigned to the defendant was found in the entry foyer of the residence. Cell phone records placed the defendant's cell phone in the Cranston Area at the time of the incident and a person matching the general description of the defendant was observed leaving the residence as the fire was discovered.
"Aliss Collins had much to look forward to when her life – and that of her unborn child – were taken by violence by the defendant," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Today's plea marks just over two years since this terrible crime shattered the lives of Aliss' family, yet there is no amount of time sufficient to understand or accept the loss they experienced".
Cranston Police Detectives Michael Iacone and John Cardone led the investigation and Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy Healy and Assistant Attorney General John Krollman prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.