A judge has bound over a case of a Leavenworth woman who is facing a second-degree murder in connection to the death of her son.

A judge has bound over a case of a Leavenworth woman who is facing a second-degree murder in connection to the death of her son.

Catherine M. Smith, 31, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Nov, 29, 2018, death of her 19-month-old son.

Smith is not accused of intentionally killing the boy. But the death is alleged to have resulted from reckless behavior under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Smith is alleged to have left her son in a room where the temperature exceeded 90 degrees without checking on him for an extended period.

In court Friday, District Judge Michael Gibbens bound the case over for a trial. But the judge admitted he struggled over whether to bind the case over for the second-degree murder charge or a less severe charge of involuntary manslaughter.

“I’m really struggling with it,” he said.

Gibbens said he believes prosecutors had met the probable cause standard for the preliminary hearing phase to bind over the case for the second-degree murder charge.

But he said there will be a different standard after the prosecution presents its case during the trial. And he may reduce the charge at that time.

Gibbens’ decision to bind over the case came after evidence was presented over the course of several hearings as part of the preliminary hearing process.

Gibbens scheduled an arraignment in the case for Sept. 30. Smith will be asked to enter a plea at that time.

Smith remained in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail on Friday.

Her bond initially was set at $500,000, but this later was reduced to $250,000.

Smith’s attorney, Clinton Lee, requested another modification of his client’s bond during Friday’s hearing.

“She poses no danger to the community,” Lee said.

Lee said Smith no longer has custody of her other child.

Lee also argued that his client does not pose a flight risk.

“She does not have the financial means to go anywhere,” he said.

Lee asked that his client be released on her own recognizance or that the judge substantially reduce the bond.

Deputy County Attorney Joan Lowdon noted that Gibbens already had reduced Smith’s bond. Lowdon said she did not think an own recognizance bond would be appropriate in the case.

Gibbens said he considered Smith’s danger to the community to be minimal. But he said the danger of her being a flight risk was of more concern.

The judge said Smith would face a severe sentence if she is convicted.

Gibbens denied the request to release Smith on her own recognizance. But he reduced the bond to $25,000 with a supervision requirement if Smith is able to post bond. The judge also said Smith would not be allowed to have contact with children under the age of 12 if she is released on bond.

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