Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024
Aryan Vito Smith
Aryan Vito Smith

Aryan Vito Smith, a 29-year-old man, pleaded guilty on Friday, March 8, to stabbing to death Treeanna Nichols, a Pasadena woman in a Westminster hotel six years ago.

A hearing is scheduled for May 10 for the judge to consider additional evidence from prosecutors and tp deter,ome whether the case will be treated as first-degree or second-degree murder.

A first-degree murder conviction could lead to a 26 years to life sentence. A second-degree murder conviction would mean 10 years less time served before getting a parole hearing.

Smith was captured by a surveillance video as he was walking up the stairs of the Quality Inn on Westminster Boulevard at about 3 p.m. on Feb. 5, while wearing a hooded sweatshirt and vaping. He left a short time later. Nichols was killed, according to police investigators, during that time period.

The Westminster Police Commander, Cameron Knauerhaze, described the murder as brutal and violent at a news conference at department headquarters.

Nichols was alone at the motel at the time of the murder. She had only been there for a short time. Apparently she had quite a few friends and acquaintances in the area. They all thought she was going to have a short stay at the hotel.

Westminster police officers were asked by her family to do a welfare check when they could not get a hold of her. They found her body just before 11 p.m.

The following month, the Westminster police asked for the public’s help to find Nichols’ killer and they released surveillance video of a large man smoking a vaping device as he climbed up the stairs as he headed to the hotel room where the victim was found.

A company named Parabon ended up identifying Smith as the suspect via a DNA sample, as reported here.

Smith was arrested in May of 2020 and being held on $1 million bail.



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

One thought on “Murderer identified by his DNA pleads guilty to fatally stabbing a young woman in Westminster”
  1. RIP Treeana. That DNA company sounds very thorough. And the situation seems like the murderer was a disgruntled John.

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