A DeSoto man charged with murder in the 2018 stabbing death of a News-Journal newspaper carrier is set to go on trial Jan. 18.

Rodrick Deshun Arkeith Elliott, 24, was arrested May 3, 2018, on suspicion of killing Sandy Smith, 51, at her home in the 300 block of East Grand Avenue in Longview.

Elliott was staying at Hiway 80 Rescue Mission at the time of the murder and reportedly confessed to his girlfriend before being arrested at her Gladewater residence the same day, police said.

The arrest came hours after police arrived at Smith’s home to assist emergency medical services after a woman — later identified as Smith’s mother — called to report her daughter “bleeding all over and cut all over,” according to an arrest warrant .

Smith’s neighbors said previously that Elliott had knocked on their doors the day before her death asking for a lighter.

In October 2018, Elliott was declared incompetent or unfit for trial. He was later transported to Vernon State Hospital for inpatient psychiatric care and competency restoration.

Another competency evaluation for mental illness/intellectual ability was filed in March and April 2020, and Elliott was deemed fit. His case was placed back on the criminal status docket in 2020 to await trial.

Elliott remains in the Gregg County Jail on $500,000 bond.

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.