A man accused of the death of a 5-year-old girl playing in a room of the motel her parents owned was found responsible for the death by Caddo Parish jurors Friday, January 13, 2023.

The seven-man, five-woman jury in District Judge John D. Mosely Jr.’s court found Shreveporter Joseph Lee Smith, 35, responsively guilty of manslaughter in connection with the March 2021 slaying of Mya Patel. Smith was found guilty as-charged on separate charges of aggravated battery and obstruction of justice.

The jury heard that on March 20, 2021, Smith got into an altercation with another man in the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel in the 4900 block of Monkhouse Drive in west Shreveport. The motel was owned and operated at that time by Vimal and Snehal Patel, who lived in a ground-floor unit with Mya and a younger sibling. During the altercation, Smith struck the other man with a 9-mm handgun, which discharged. The bullet missed the other man, but went into the apartment to struck Mya Patel in the head before grazing Snehal Patel. Mya died of her wound on March 23, 2021.

When Smith returns to court February 27, 2023, he faces a prison sentence of up to  40 years at hard labor for the manslaughter conviction. He faces  up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for the aggravated battery conviction and up to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000 for the obstruction conviction.

Smith was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Mekisha Smith Creal and Monique Y. Metoyer. He was defended by Casey Simpson and Harry Johnson.