Man sentenced for 2015 parental murder in Porterville

Kenneth Charles Smith to spend two lifetimes in prison for first-degree murder of his parents eight years ago

By Mid Valley Times Staff
Published December 20, 2023  • 
11:30 am
(Rigo Moran)
(Rigo Moran)

TULARE COUNTY – A man from Porterville was sentenced to multiple lifetimes behind bars after the premeditated killing of both his parents in 2015.

(Tulare County District Attorney's office)

On Friday, Dec. 15 at the South County Justice Center in Porterville, Kenneth Charles Smith, 65, was handed down a heavy sentence – two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, all stemming from the 2015 murder of his elderly parents.

At trial on Nov. 14, Smith was found guilty of two counts of premeditated first-degree murder with the special allegations that multiple murders were committed. It took the jury one hour and seven minutes to come to a decision.

“During this eight-year quest for justice, my office and my prosecutors were challenged time and time again professionally and personally,” District Attorney Tim Ward said via announcement. “Despite these repetitive and exhausting legal battles, our endurance and our ethical commitment never waned, and we saw justice today. The actions of our staff epitomize the three words on display in my office – duty, honor, justice.”

The crime took place over eight years ago, on Oct. 4, 2015. At this time, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence in Porterville for a welfare check. Upon searching a semi-trailer on the property, deputies discovered the bodies of an 84-year-old male and an 83-year-old female under a tarp and blankets. Blood was found on the back of the male victim’s head and both victims showed signs of strangulation. It was after that, they discovered Smith lived in the trailer.  

A few hours later, dispatch received a call from the Lake Isabella area from a friend of the defendant who stated that Smith arrived at his home and admitted the killings. Police arrived soon after and took Smith into custody. Through investigation, law enforcement learned that Smith also admitted the murders to multiple family members.  

Throughout the eight years of legal proceedings, multiple competency trials were heard, defense counsel changes were made, and numerous motions were filed including a recusal order later overturned by the 5th Appellate District. 

“This heinous crime impacted the community and surviving family in ways we cannot comprehend, and I am thankful for the justice imposed today. My admiration for staff and prosecutors cannot be understated,” Ward said via the announcement. 

Mid Valley Times Staff