Rockford man pleads guilty to first-degree murder of ex-girlfriend

Smith, 46, faces up to life in prison for first-degree murder with a firearm.
Smith, 46, faces up to life in prison for first-degree murder with a firearm.(Winnebago County jail)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:58 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - 46-year-old Rayshawn Smith pled guilty Wednesday to the first-degree murder of Ashley Hardin.

Hardin, 38, of Roscoe, was reported missing by her minor child on Saturday, July 23. According to investigators, Hardin and the child smelled gasoline at their residence, and when Hardin left the apartment to investigate, she never returned.

Later that day, she was found dead with two gunshot wounds while Smith was found in his vehicle with evidence pertaining to the crime.

Smith and Hardin were known to have been in a dating relationship, and Smith posted a Facebook video indicating his connection with Hardin’s death.

He faces up to life in prison for first-degree murder with a firearm and is scheduled back in court on December 15 for sentencing.