Robert Benjamin Smith, 24, of Cherokee, has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with murder in connection with a fatal stabbing which allegedly took place on the Cherokee Indian Reservation on Oct. 22. The announcement of the charges was made on Monday, Nov. 1 by U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina, Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Charlotte Division, and Ben Reed, Chief of the Cherokee Indian Police Department.
According to information contained in official court documents filed Oct. 29, Smith, an EBCI tribal member, faces a maximum statutory penalty of imprisonment for life if convicted. Smith remains in custody in Cherokee on Tribal warrants, which were issued on Oct. 26, and will make his initial appearance in federal court in Asheville at a later date. Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant arrested on a federal criminal complaint is entitled to a probable cause hearing within ten (10) days of his/her arrest, unless indicted or unless a criminal information against the defendant is filed in U.S. District Court before the passage of ten days.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Cherokee Indian Police Department, and being handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains mere allegations and that a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office