A Monroe teen who plunged a knife into a young man’s back while in a drunken rage was sent to prison Friday with an unusual assignment.
While locked up, Dallas Smith, 18, must begin work on a research paper exploring how drinking alcohol to excess can destroy lives. Her deadline for completing the assignment is May 2012, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz said.
In December she pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a knife for stabbing Willy Simpson, 19, at a drinking party. The attack came after he teased Smith about having stinky feet.
While that aspect of the case made headlines, the attention was misplaced, Kurtz said at Smith’s sentencing hearing.
“Let me be absolutely clear: This case is not about smelly feet,” the judge said. “It is about binge drinking and (the) criminal behavior that did flow from that.”
Smith was sentenced to one year and three months in prison. The sentence was in keeping with a recommendation supported by the prosecutor, Smith’s defense attorney and the man she stabbed. It also was the minimum punishment under state sentencing guidelines.
Kurtz also ordered Smith to begin work on a research paper, at least six pages long, that will explore the problem of binge drinking and how it has damaged at least one other person’s life.
She didn’t have any criminal history or contact with police before the Sept. 7 assault. She did have a budding drinking problem, however. That’s something Smith plans to address in alcohol-abuse counseling while serving her sentence, said her defense attorney, David Allen of Seattle.
Deputy prosecutor Janice Albert said Smith was incredibly lucky the attack didn’t cause more grievous injury. Smith plunged the steak knife more than three inches into Simpson’s back, causing one of the young man’s lungs to collapse.
The stabbing happened as Smith and others partied at a home near Monroe. She was intoxicated and bragged about being able to do a back flip off a deck. When she attempted the stunt, Smith wound up in a heap.
Before the jump, she had removed her shoes. Simpson teased her about having smelly feet. She began hitting him. The young man managed to push her away. That’s when witnesses said Smith grabbed her coat, picked up the knife, and stabbed him in the back before heading out the door.
The knife’s blade still was embedded in the man’s back when deputies arrived. It remained that way until he was raced to a Seattle hospital for surgery.
On Friday, Simpson made clear that he supported a sentence that would give Smith a second chance.
“I’m glad she didn’t kill me that night,” he said.
Before heading off to begin serving time, Smith apologized for what she characterized a “great error in judgment.”
Scott North: 425-339-3431, firstname.lastname@example.org