DOVER, Del. – A Delaware judge has scheduled a plea hearing for a former soldier accused of kidnapping, raping and killing a woman while he was on leave.
Dwight L. Smith Jr., 28, was scheduled to enter a guilty plea at a hearing Friday in Wilmington.
Smith is charged with killing Marsha Lee of Wilmington while he was on leave from Fort Drum, New York, in December 2011.
Lee, 65, was abducted while walking her dog. Police said at the time that Smith had targeted Lee at random after deciding he wanted to kill somebody. He allegedly hit Lee with his sport utility vehicle, threw her inside, then raped her and beat her to death.
According to prosecutors, Smith said in the confession that led to his arrest that the attack was unplanned and random. Prosecutors have said they would seek the death penalty.
After Lee's death, Smith wrote to his father of concerns about his mental health and suggested that he became "addicted to killing" while in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Smith's attorneys have said he has serious mental health issues.
A prosecutor declined to comment Thursday on the plea hearing.
Smith's public defender did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In the letter to his father, Smith complained that his mental health was deteriorating and that solitary confinement after his arrest was "starting to play tricks with my mind."
"I just don't want to be locked up without getting some type of help," he wrote.
In the letter, Smith also wrote of killing a lot of men and children, some after they begged for mercy.
"I think I got addicted to killing people.... It got normal for me to be that way. I never wanted to be this way. I just took my job way to (sic) serious. I took things to the extreme. Anyone can tell you that I changed. It is like being a completely different person."