Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dade City man accused of killing case worker getting competency test

DADE CITY — A man with a history of mental illness who is accused of stabbing his case worker to death has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.

Lucious Smith, 53, said little during the Monday morning hearing before Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa. But Chief Assistant Public Defender Tom Hanlon said his client would be tested to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Smith is accused in the Dec. 10 stabbing of Stephanie Nicole Ross, a 25-year-old case worker for a health management company under contract with Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor and disabled. Ross of Lakeland had visited Smith at his 37020 Coleman Ave. apartment several times and was alone during the Dec. 10 visit. Her job was to make sure Smith, who is on medication, was receiving the health care he needed.

Witnesses saw Ross screaming as she ran from the apartment. Smith chased after her, slashing at her with a butcher knife, according to Dade City police. A stranger rushed Ross to the hospital, where she died later that day.

Dade City police said Ross had made notes in her case file that expressed safety concerns and said no one should visit Smith alone. Her employer has said they were unaware of safety concerns.

Assistant State Attorney Manuel Garcia said Smith has an appointment with the state psychiatrist to be evaluated. He told members of Ross' family after the hearing that Smith could receive anywhere between 24 years in prison to life.

Eight of Ross' relatives sat in the front row during the hearing Monday. It marked the first time they had came face to face with Smith. They declined to comment after the hearing.

"It's pretty emotional for them right now," said Brad Stewart, an attorney who is related by marriage to the family.

Dade City man accused of killing case worker getting competency test 01/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 7, 2013 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Toddler struck by vehicle in Riverview neighborhood


    RIVERVIEW — A 3-year-old girl was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries Tuesday morning after she was struck by a vehicle, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Five ideas for cool summer snacks


    The 90-degree temperatures are not letting up anytime soon. We Floridians know to keep some cold treats on hand through September. Ice cream. Lemonade. Ice pops. Whether you're packing a beach cooler or preparing for a pool party, we've got you covered. Level up your summer snack game with these five refreshing …

    What’s not to like about a homemade ice cream sandwich? The thin chocolate cake bakes in about 10 to 12 minutes, and from there it’s all chilling out.
  3. U.S. Pacific commander: Remains of sailors found on USS John McCain


    SINGAPORE — The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet says a number of remains of Navy sailors were found in a compartment of the USS John McCain, a day after the warship's collision with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters left 10 sailors missing.

    The damaged port aft hull of USS John S. McCain, left, is seen while docked next to USS America at Singapore's Changi naval base on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 in Singapore. The focus of the search for 10 U.S. sailors missing after a collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters shifted Tuesday to the damaged destroyer's flooded compartments. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: Solar eclipse, gender gap, new schools and more


    TOTAL ECLIPSE: More than 8,000 Hernando County students skip school after their school district gives them excused absences for the day. Students who …

    Students at Bayonet Point Middle School observe the solar eclipse Monday through their special eclipse glasses.