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IN BRIEF / SAN DIEGO

Woman Suspected in 1965 Slaying Kills Self

December 17, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A 68-year-old woman in Casa Grande, Ariz., committed suicide Tuesday as police from El Cajon were at the door of her home to arrest her in the 1965 murder of her 2-year-old stepdaughter.

Marie Smith shot herself in the head as detectives were asking her to open the door. The officers interviewed her a month earlier when the case was reopened.

In 1965, prosecutors declined to file a case after an autopsy was inconclusive. But after other unspecified evidence was uncovered, and a second autopsy was performed, Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis decided to file charges.

The arrest warrant asserts that Smith beat the child to death with at least 12 blows. In 1965, she told authorities that the child fell off her bed.

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