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Bellevue Killer Sentenced

November 21, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former mental patient was sentenced Monday to 50 years to life in prison for the rape and strangulation murder of a pregnant doctor in her office at Bellevue Hospital.

Steven Smith, 23, showed no reaction when state Supreme Court Justice James Leff imposed the toughest penalty allowed for the rape, sodomy, robbery and murder of Dr. Kathryn Hinnant, 33, who was five months pregnant when killed.

Hinnant, originally from Lake City, S.C., was found naked and smeared with blood in her on Jan. 8. Her husband and a Bellevue official found her body after she failed to come home the night before.

Smith, who had walked the halls of Bellevue in physician’s garb, was wearing a red jogging suit and black sneakers when he rose to offer an apology for killing Hinnant and to claim that he is insane and needs help.

″I’m sorry and it shouldn’t have happened,″ Smith said in a rambling, semi-coherent, statement. ″There was a lot of things going on that I didn’t see or feel, or anything like that.″

Smith admitted from the outset that he killed Hinnant but innocent because of insanity. He reproached the court, saying, ″I didn’t get what I expected I should have gotten. I think I should get the help I need.″

Assistant District Attorney James Kindler cited Smith’s arrest history, including his assaults of teachers as a teen-ager, his near-fatal beating of his pregnant girlfriend in South Carolina in March 1988, and his assault of a correction officer after his arrest in Hinnant’s murder.

Without comment, Leff gave Smith 25 years to life for the murder and eight and one-third to 25 years each for robbery, rape and sodomy. The sentences are to be served consecutively. Smith will be 73 before he is eligible for parole.

Smith was arrested for the murder at a men’s shelter after acquaintances there turned him in, hoping to collect a $30,000 reward that was posted for Hinnant’s killer. So far, the money has not been awarded.

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