NewsCovering Kern County


Man found guilty of 2nd degree murder for killing cellmate

Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 20:43:15-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County District Attorney's Office announced that a Kern County jury found Travis Smoot guilty of second degree murder for the killing of his cellmate, Larry Thomas Hite at the Kern Valley Prison.

According to the DA, in December 2015, corrections officers found Smoot standing at the door of his prison cell, which had a white sheet hung to obstruct a view into the cell.

Officers said that when they opened the cell, they found Hite lying dead on the floor with his hands and feet hogtied with torn sheets. Officials said that he was impaled with a walking cane and that both of his ears were punctured.

Smoot told officers that he and Hite were drinking coffee and Hite was telling him about a rape he did not get convicted fo. Smoot said he told Hite to stop or he would kill him.

Smoot said that "Hite wouldn't stop, so [he] tortured Hite all night and killed him around 4."

He admitted to officers that he killed Hite by strangulation.

Smoot was originally sentenced to prison for repeated vehicle thefts, but was convicted of two separate assault cases in prison, thus extending his prison time.

Hite was committed to prison for a cold-case 1986 murder in July 2015.

Smoot's sentencing is scheduled for May 14 where he faces a 16 years-to-life sentence.