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Attorney General Nessel to Prosecute Charges Against Rashad Maleek Trice
July 13, 2023
LANSING – Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the Department of Attorney General will conduct the state prosecution of Rashad Maleek Trice, 26, of Lansing, and will prosecute all state charges in one trial.
Trice presently faces kidnapping and sexual assault charges, among others, across multiple local jurisdictions in connection to the tragic murder of Wynter Cole-Smith and assault of her mother. The Department has begun the process of reviewing police reports for potential murder charges. In concert with Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane, Macomb County Prosecutor Peter J. Lucido, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, charges previously announced against Trice will be reviewed and reissued by the Department of Attorney General.
“This is a tragic case, and by consolidating the prosecution into one venue, we are recognizing the hardship the surviving victim and family continue to face,” said Nessel. “I am grateful for the partnership with Prosecutors Dewane, Lucido, and Worthy which allow all of us to place the victims’ needs first while seeking justice for Wynter and her mother.”
Cole-Smith, 2, of Lansing, was discovered in a Detroit alley Wednesday, July 5th, ending a three-day search involving multiple law enforcement agencies from Lansing to Detroit.
Trice is alleged to have sexually assaulted and stabbed his former girlfriend, kidnapped her daughter, Wynter, and to have stolen her mother’s car. It is alleged Trice murdered the toddler, before resisting arrest and assaulting law enforcement in St. Clair Shores.
The Department of Attorney General utilizes a victim-centered approach that will inform the course of this investigation, charging decisions, and prosecution. By consolidating the prosecution into one judicial forum and trial the Department seeks to minimize the traumatizing effect that multiple trials and obligations to testify would necessitate on witnesses, surviving victims, and all loved ones of Cole-Smith and her mother. A victim advocate from the department has spoken with the surviving victim. At all times throughout the prosecution of Trice the experience of the many devastated by these heinous crimes will remain paramount in the prosecution strategy.
“The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office fully supports the Office of the Attorney General prosecuting the tragic course of conduct that started with a horrific physical and sexual assault and kidnapping in Ingham County, encompasses the murder of two-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith, and ended with Mr. Trice resisting arrest and assaulting officers in Macomb County. The Office of the Attorney General has jurisdiction that extends throughout the state of Michigan and across county lines. By having one prosecutorial entity handling the entire course of conduct, there will be a single point of contact for law enforcement, consistency for the victims and Wynter’s family as well as provide for judicial economy by having consolidated court hearings. The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to support the Office of the Attorney General as they hold Rashad Trice accountable for his actions and seek justice for all those impacted by these events,” said John Dewane, Ingham County Prosecutor.
"In the wake of unspeakable tragedy and unimaginable pain, the decision for Attorney General Nessel to assume prosecution of this case across multiple counties brings consolidation of prosecution and compassion to the victim and her family. By consolidating resources, and a multi-county prosecution approach it will allow truth and justice to be pursued and bring about a resolution that will not only be fundamentally fair but offer solace to the victim's family,” said Macomb County Prosecutor Peter J. Lucido.
“There are multiple jurisdictions that could handle this case, including mine. It is and always has been my very strong position that this case be handled by the Attorney General’s Office because there is statewide jurisdiction and charges can be filed in Lansing. State prosecutors have caucused about this horrific case. It is critically important to all of us that we consider how Wynter’s mother will have to cope with the facts in this case — her daughter’s kidnapping and murder, as well as her own vicious assault. She should not have to travel back and forth to Detroit and any other jurisdiction among various courts. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will assist in any way necessary to make sure justice is done,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Trice is presently being held at the Newaygo County Jail and is currently charged with 18 state and federal felonies and misdemeanors in the Western District of Michigan, United States District Court, Ingham County District Court 54-A, and Macomb County 40th District Court.
Each case will continue in each county court while new charges are assessed.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.