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Tulare County Jury Quickly Finds Man Guilty of Murdering His Parents



Photo of a judge banging a gavel
A Tulare County jury deliberated just 67 minutes on Tuesday before finding Kenneth Charles Smith, 65, guilty of murdering his parents in 2015. (Shutterstock)
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A Tulare County jury deliberated just 67 minutes on Tuesday before finding a man guilty of murdering his parents eight years ago.

Kenneth Charles Smith booking photo

A Tulare County jury convicted Kenneth Charles Smith, 65, in the 2015 murders of his parents, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. (Tulare County DA’s Office)

The District Attorney’s Office said in a news release that Kenneth Charles Smith, 65, faces a sentence of life in prison without parole when he is sentenced on Dec. 14.

According to prosecutors, sheriff’s deputies responded to a request for a welfare check at a Porterville residence on Oct. 4, 2015. They found Smith’s then 84-year-old father and 83-year-old mother dead and covered by a tarp in a semi-trailer. Both victims appeared to have been strangled.

A few hours later, dispatch received a call from the Lake Isabella area from a friend of Kenneth Smith, prosecutors said. The friend said that Smith admitted to the killings. Following Smith’s arrest, investigators learned that Smith also confessed the murders to several family members.

The long road to justice for the victims resulted from multiple trials to determine Smith’s mental competency, the filing of many motions by his defense counsel, and changes in defense counsel, the DA’s Office said.

Tulare County assistant DA Erica Gonzalez and supervising deputy DA Noell Niayesh prosecuted the case.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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