SAN BERNARDINO — Brian Keith Smith pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually molesting and killing a 10-year-old girl by putting her into an ice chest.
Smith, 24, also pleaded guilty to kidnaping Melissa Wakefield, who vanished after a Fourth of July party.
When sentenced Jan. 29 in Superior Court here, Smith will face a minimum 33 years in prison before he becomes eligible for parole, Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Maxwell said.
"The primary reason we accepted the plea is that he will be in prison for the rest of his life," Maxwell said.
Investigators played a tape-recorded confession during a preliminary hearing in which Smith told of taking the girl from the party after she became inebriated. Smith told detectives the little girl begged to be taken home before he sexually assaulted her. He also told of burying her in the ice chest in the desert, about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.