Brianna Kupfer murder: New charges filed in stabbing death of UCLA student

New charges have been filed in connection with the stabbing murder of UCLA student Brianna Kupfer, who was brutally attacked and killed in January at her job in Hancock Park. 

According to a new indictment unsealed in court Monday, the suspect, 32-year-old suspect Shawn Laval Smith, now also faces two special circumstance allegations - lying in wait and use of a knife. 

The indictment was filed Nov. 15 and replaces earlier charges, bypassing the need for a preliminary hearing.

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, is accused of fatally stabbing Kupfer on Jan. 13 while she was working inside the Croft House boutique furniture store in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue. 

An autopsy released in August showed Kupfer suffered 46 sharp force injuries, consisting of 26 stab wounds and 20 incised wounds. She suffered 11 stabs to the chest, two in the abdomen, one to the pelvis, two on her right arm, five on her left arm, two on her right leg and three on her left leg. All the stab wounds were said to be about five inches deep.

Her manner of death was ruled a homicide and her cause of death was sharp force injuries.


According to investigators, Kupfer was working alone inside the furniture store when a man entered the business. She texted a friend saying that she was getting a "bad vibe" from the man, but unfortunately, the friend didn't get the text in time, authorities said. A short time later, the man attacked her with a knife. The Los Angeles Police Department said the suspect was a "random walk in to the store."

After the attack, Smith was seen on surveillance video walking away from the store through a rear alley. Surveillance cameras also caught him casually shopping about 30 minutes later at a nearby 7-Eleven store. He was also spotted shopping at other stores before and after the killing, police said.

About 20 minutes later, a customer came in and found Kupfer dead in a puddle of blood on the floor of the store.

Smith was arrested on Jan. 19 in Pasadena following a weeklong manhunt fueled by $250,000 in reward money, according to the LAPD. He was then charged with murder, and the charge includes an allegation that he used a knife in the commission of the crime. His next court appearance is on Monday, August 8.

Smith has a lengthy rap sheet with previous charges out of CaliforniaNorth Carolina and South Carolina. Online records obtained by FOX News show at least 11 arrests in Charleston, S.C., dating back to 2010, including a pending case for allegedly discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle on Nov. 13, 2019. 

Kupfer went to Brentwood High School and the Universities of Miami and Sydney. Her Dad described her as their sweet angel, smart, devoted to her family, with lots of friends, big dreams and her whole life ahead of her.