July 24, 1995 |
The jury that convicted Susan Smith of murder for drowning her two young sons is due to hear more gut-wrenching testimony today when it meets to decide whether to sentence her to life in prison or death in the electric chair. Under South Carolina law, 24 hours must elapse before jurors in a death penalty case can be presented with new evidence as they decide the punishment.
July 23, 1995 |
A jury brushed aside contentions of mental illness Saturday and found a 23-year-old South Carolina woman guilty of first-degree murder in the drowning deaths of her two sons. The jury reached the verdict after 2 1/2 hours of deliberations, rejecting the defense's contentions that Susan Smith was depressed and suicidal on the night of the deaths and did not intend to kill her sons, Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months, who died while strapped into their car seats.
July 21, 1995 |
The prosecution rested Thursday in the double murder trial of Susan Smith, and the defense case began with a state investigator who testified that the woman charged with drowning her two young sons was racked with guilt. Smith felt abused, troubled about her love affairs and "obviously distraught" and sorrowful about drowning her sons, investigator Pete Logan said. Asked if Smith showed remorse during her Nov. 3 confession, Logan said: "Probably the greatest I've seen in 35 years."
July 20, 1995 |
Susan Smith, her family and even spectators at her murder trial broke down in tears Wednesday as a diver testified about finding the bodies of her two young sons in her car at the bottom of John D. Long Lake. "I was able to see a small hand against the glass," said Steve Morrow. "My best guess at the time was that they were in the car seats and they were hanging upside down. I was able to determine that there was one occupant on either side of the vehicle."
July 19, 1995 |
Susan Smith "looked this country in the eye and lied" about killing her sons, who had become an obstacle to a love affair, a prosecutor said Tuesday at the start of her murder trial. But one of her lawyers called the boys' drownings part of a "failed suicide" by a woman who "tried to cope with a failing life and snapped." Tears filled Smith's eyes and she buried her face in her hands during the opening statements at her trial on charges of drowning her sons, Michael, 3, and Alexander, 14 months.
July 18, 1995 |
Susan Smith asked the sheriff to pray with her, and when they were through, she asked for his gun so she could kill herself. When he refused, he recalled Monday, she said, "My children are not all right" and began to tell him how she had killed them. During a hearing to determine the admissibility of statements Smith made to authorities, Union County Sheriff Howard Wells detailed how she broke down Nov.
July 16, 1995 |
Lawyers in the double-murder trial of a young woman who confessed to drowning her sons finished selecting a jury Saturday, clearing the way for trial to start Tuesday. Susan Smith faces the death penalty. The 12-member panel includes nine men and three women who were selected from among 55 candidates over six days. Many of the prospective jurors expressed strong opinions against the death penalty.
July 12, 1995 |
Susan Smith was ruled competent to stand trial Tuesday for drowning her two young sons, despite warnings from a psychiatrist that she is suicidal and might try to sabotage her own defense. Jury selection, which began Monday and could take up to two weeks, proceeded slowly, with one woman and one man surviving individual questioning of the first 13 panelists. The second day of the trial began with Circuit Judge William Howard asking Smith a series of questions.
July 11, 1995 |
Eight months later, the mourners still come. They stand in respectful silence beside the still waters as if in church. Birds sing overheard in the trees. A breeze ripples the surface of the lake. A concrete boat ramp leads down to the water and vanishes near where a family of geese floats quietly and unconcerned. "It's just a beautiful place," said Cynthia Boatright. She had driven with her husband nearly two hours from Columbia to stand in this spot.
July 1, 1995 |
A judge on Friday barred TV cameras from Susan Smith's trial on charges she drowned her two young sons. He said small-town witnesses might be intimidated by the attention. "There is an absolute likelihood that broadcast coverage in the courtroom would interfere with the due process of this trial and pose a risk to this case," said Circuit Judge William Howard. The trial begins July 10. Howard had allowed live TV coverage as well as still cameras for all previous hearings.