- Mya Patel was in the ground floor apartment at a motel her parents owned and operated when she was struck by a stray bullet fired from the parking lot.
A Louisiana man was found guilty last week in the death of Mya Patel, a 5-year-old Indian American girl in 2021. Joseph Lee Smith, 35, of Shreveport, was found “responsively guilty of manslaughter” in connection with the March 2021 killing, as reported by local news media like KSLA News 12 and the Shreveport Times. Smith was also found guilty-as-charged on separate charges of aggravated battery and obstruction of justice.
According to news reports, Patel was killed by a stray bullet fired by Smith on March 20, 2021, when he got into an altercation with another man in the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel. At the time, Patel’s parents Vimal and Snehal Patel owned and operated the motel. They lived in a ground-floor unit with their daughter and her younger sibling.
During the altercation, Smith struck the other man with a 9-mm handgun, which fired. The bullet missed the man and went into the room and struck Mya in the head before grazing the mother Snehal. Patel was rushed to Ochsner LSU Health, “where she battled for three days and was pronounced dead on March 23,” the Shreveport Times reported.
Smith is scheduled to return to the court on Feb. 27. He reportedly 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.