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.
June 10, 1995 |
The attorney for Susan Smith, who is accused of killing her two sons, has filed a legal motion to keep cameras and electronic broadcast media out of court during the trial. A hearing on the motion will be held later this month. Officials said the screening of jurors for the high-profile trial, set to start July 10, has already begun with a questionnaire sent to potential panelists regarding such issues as sexual abuse, mental illness and children.
May 27, 1995 |
A judge ruled Friday prosecutors can seek the death penalty in the trial of Susan Smith, the 23-year-old woman accused of drowning her two sons. Circuit Court Judge William Howard also refused to delay the trial, set to begin July 10. Smith confessed to allowing her car to roll into a lake with the two boys, Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months, strapped in their safety seats last October after she was jilted by a lover.
May 25, 1995 |
Investigators rolled Susan Smith's car into a murky lake and let it sink with a waterproof video camera in the back seat Wednesday to show what her two little boys may have seen in their final moments. It took about six minutes for the 1990 Mazda Protege to go under. The car floated for some distance, its trunk lifting high into the air before it slid beneath the surface with a rush of bubbles.