PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence man admitted Thursday to killing his girlfriend and her unborn child in 2015 by beating her repeatedly with a fire extinguisher and setting her apartment on fire.
Born Smith, 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree arson and was sentenced to two life sentences by Superior Court Justice Sarah Taft-Carter. The sentences will run concurrently.
The victim, Aliss Collins, was eight and a half months pregnant at the time of her death, according to family members who attended the plea hearing. She planned to name her son Alexander.
“Since Aliss was killed my whole world is changed forever,” said Olabisi Agboola, Collins’ younger sister. “The amount of pain that is in my heart…I cannot quantify into words.”
In court, Assistant Attorney General John Krollman said Cranston first responders went to to Collins’ Marcy Street apartment on Nov. 13, 2015 for the report of a fire, subsequently finding Collins on the bathroom floor with severe head injuries.
Krollman said Collins’ cause of death was ruled to be blunt force head injuries and smoke inhalation. Police charged Smith with her murder and the arson after discovering his handprint on a fire extinguisher that was also covered in Collins’ blood.
Smith had just discovered he was the father of Collins’ child, Krollman said. A DNA test later proved he was the biological father.
Smith admitted to the crimes and declined an opportunity to address the court.
Leemu Seabook, Collins’ older sister, described her as a “beautiful, educated, caring, giving, strong, excited woman full of life, as she shared pictures of her growing belly and constantly updated her sisters on her motherhood milestones.”
Multiple family members described her as having a high-pitched, infectious laugh that everyone could recognize.
“My sweet Aliss, my little sister who hated getting her hair braided,” Seabrook said. “My sister who laughed, and made you laugh.”
The family plans to plant an apple tree in Collins’ honor, and in memory of an annual apple picking trip she started. Collins’ aunt, Lisa Jackson, held up a photo of Collins at her final trip to the apple orchard. She was seven months pregnant.
After the sentencing, Col. Michael Winquist said he was “very proud” of the work his detectives did to solve the case. He said the palm print on the fire extinguisher was the key piece of evidence that tied Smith to the crime.
Smith will first become eligible for parole after 25 years, according to the Attorney General’s office.