A postmortem examination has revealed that the UCLA grad student killed in a seemingly random daylight attack at a furniture store was stabbed more than a dozen times.
Briana Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death at the Croft House in the Hancock Park sections of Los Angeles on Jan. 14, shortly before 2:00 p.m.
A suspect — believed to have been a homeless man who fled the scene through the upscale outlet’s back exit — was identified as Shawn Laval Smith and charged with Kupfer’s murder a week later.
A recently-viewed autopsy report cited by the New York Post showed Kupfer was stabbed 26 times, including 11 stab wounds to the chest. She was also stabbed twice in her abdomen, right leg and right arm, five times in her left arm, three times in her left leg and once in her pelvis.
Kupfer was found dead a short time after the attack by a customer.
Just 14 minutes before that customer called the police, Kupfer texted a friend to say she had a “bad vibe” about someone in the store.
Surveillance footage captured Smith leaving the Croft House right after the stabbing; he was seen at a 7-Eleven store about 30 minutes later. Police appealed to the public before he was spotted at a Pasadena bus bench and apprehended on Jan. 19.
It was later revealed he had a history that involved issues with his mental health.
Smith had a lengthy rap sheet on both the east and west coasts, with nearly a dozen charges under his belt — including a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in North Carolina (which was later dismissed).
At the time of Kupfer’s murder, Smith was out on bond pending trial in South Carolina for discharging a flare gun into a moving vehicle that had a child in the backseat in 2019.
According to Fox News, criminal proceedings in the case of Kupfer’s murder have been suspended, pending the results of a mental health evaluation on Smith.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told Oxygen.com that a mental competency status hearing for Smith is scheduled for August 22.
Smith was previously found incompetent to stand trial after vandalizing a car and assaulting a police officer in California in 2021. He was later restored to competency in May of that year and served 188 days of an eight-month sentence.
He failed to report to his probation officer and managed to live under the radar until Kupfer’s murder.
Smith continues to be held at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles on more than $2 million bail, records show. He is due for his next court appearance on Aug. 8.
Calling All True Crime Fans
Oxygen Insider is your all-access pass to never-before-seen content, free digital evidence kits, and much more!
Sign Up for Free
Crime News is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen’s original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.