Crime

Kansas City man is accused in the beating death of his girlfriend

Morris L. Smith is charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend, whose body was found early Tuesday in a home in Kansas City.
Morris L. Smith is charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend, whose body was found early Tuesday in a home in Kansas City.

Jackson County prosecutors have charged a 45-year-old man in the beating death of his girlfriend, whose body was found early Tuesday inside a Kansas City residence in the 1200 block of East 37th Street.

Morris L. Smith of Kansas City faces a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of Kimberly D. Hetzler, 36, who was pregnant with his baby, according to court records.

Police summoned to the studio apartment Tuesday found Hetzler’s body in bed with severe injuries to her head and body. It appeared that a struggle had occurred. Blood was evident on the bed, bedding, nearby wall and window blinds near the bed.

At the scene, court records state, Smith told police that he had argued with Hetzler on Friday about another woman. Smith also said that when they spoke by phone on Monday, Hetzler asked him to come home, according to the court records. Smith told officers that he had been drinking and smoked crack cocaine before going to the residence, court records stated.

Witnesses later told investigators that Hetzler and Smith had argued previously, the records state, and that Hetzler had been overheard saying that Smith wanted to “beat me up again.”

Smith allegedly told investigators that he and Hetzler had a violent relationship. After detectives noticed blood on the front of his pajamas, Smith became emotional and, court records state, said, “I’m going to jail for the rest of my life. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. My mom and dad are going to kill me.”

He also allegedly told a detective, “I know you know I did it,” according to court records.

Prosecutors requested that bond be set at $500,000.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

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