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Murder charges filed





STOCKTON -- An Aug. 1 preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a man who described himself as homeless in a statement asking to have an attorney appointed to represent him.

Marcus A. Smith, 41, Plainville, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the May 14 death of Robert M. Foster II. Smith had been living in Foster's rural Plainville residence prior to an altercation that resulted in Foster's death.

Details surrounding the incident still haven't been made public, and Smith remains in the Rooks County jail in lieu of $500,000 bond. Rooks County authorities and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation have refused to say anything about the case.

Hays attorney Paul Oller has been appointed to represent him in the case, upgraded to a charge of first-degree murder June 13.

In his request to have an attorney appointed to represent him, Smith said he was homeless and a "snakeroot digger."

A coroner's report, filed separately in Rooks County District Court, offers preliminary details about the case.

"Initial information indicates that Marcus Smith and Robert Milton Foster II were involved in a physical confrontation, that traumatic injuries had occurred and that Robert Milton Foster II had expired," the report from Julie Siefers, deputy Rooks County coroner, states.

Siefers examined the scene where the altercation had taken place, but the autopsy for Foster was conducted by pathologist Erik Mitchell, Kansas City, Kan.

Her report suggests a possible motive, that of Foster's offer to "come clean" and detail information he had about drug use in the Plainville area.

"The decedent is a well-known drug user/abuser," Seifers wrote.

Arrangements had been made for Foster to talk with an officer the following day.

Before that could happen, however, Smith and Foster got into a fight.

Smith "said he hit Bob several times, that Bob fell backwards to the ground," Siefers report states. "Marcus stated after Bob fell backwards, he noticed Bob was 'snoring.' "

Smith left the house, but returned with a friend only to find Foster unresponsive. Smith then called authorities.