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True Crime: Will Susan Smith Be Released From Prison?

Susan Smith, her children Micheal and AlexanderPhoto byAP:Associated Press/SC PD/Handout

This is truly one of the saddest crime cases in the history of the United States. In 1994, Susan Smith was convicted of murdering her two, young sons, three-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander, by drowning them in a South Carolina lake. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. She is one of the most notorious prisoners in South Carolina history. Susan Smith was convicted of two counts of murder and is serving a life sentence.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections states she will be eligible for parole on November 4, 2024. She is incarcerated at the Leath Correctional Institution near Greenwood, South Carolina.

According to People "This case gained international attention because of Smith's false claim that a black man had kidnapped her sons during a carjacking. Her defense attorneys, David Bruck and Judy Clarke, called expert witnesses to testify that she had mental health issues that impaired her judgment when she committed the crimes. Smith was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. According to the South Carolina Department of Corrections, she will be eligible for parole on November 4, 2024. She is incarcerated at the Leath Correctional Institution near Greenwood, South Carolina."

"For nine days, she made dramatic pleas on national television for their safe return. However, following an intensive investigation and a nationwide search for them, she confessed on November 3, 1994, to letting her car roll into nearby John D. Long Lake, drowning them inside. Her motivation was reportedly to facilitate a relationship with a local wealthy man named Tom Findlay. Prior to the murders he sent Smith a letter ending their relationship and expressing that he did not want children. She said that there was no motive nor did she plan the murders, stating that she was not in a right state of mind."

"Later investigation revealed that detectives doubted Smith's story from the start and believed that she murdered her sons. By the second day of the investigation, the police suspected that she knew their location and hoped that they were still alive. Investigators started to search the nearby lakes and ponds, including John D. Long Lake, where their bodies were eventually found. Initial water searches did not locate the car because the police believed it would be within 30 feet of the shore, and did not search farther; it turned out to be 122 feet from the shore."

"After the boys had been missing for two days, Susan and David were subjected to a polygraph test. The biggest breakthrough of the case was her description of the carjacking location. She had claimed that a traffic light had turned red causing her to stop at an otherwise empty intersection. However, it was determined that the light would not have turned red for her unless a vehicle was present on the intersecting road. This conflicted with her statement that she did not see any other cars there when the carjacking took place."

"Susan Smith stopped off at John D. Long Lake in Union County and contemplated taking her life but ended up choosing her boys instead. Smith pulled up to a boat ramp, put the car into neutral, hopped outside and watched as the lake swallowed her two children. The boys were still strapped in their carseats and completely conscious when their family car turned into a watery coffin." Taken from the New York Post website.

"In 1995, David Bruck and Judy Clarke served as co-counsel for Smith. In their opening statement, Clarke argued Smith was deeply troubled and experienced severe depression. Clarke told the jury: "This is not a case about evil. This is a case about despair and sadness." The defense's theory of the case was that Smith drove to the edge of the lake to kill herself and her two sons, but her body willed itself out of the car. The prosecution, on the other hand, believed she murdered her sons in order to start a new life with a former lover. It took the jury only two and a half hours to convict her of murdering them. During the penalty phase, Tommy Pope, the lead prosecutor in the Smith case, argued passionately in favor of sentencing Smith to death. The jury ultimately voted against imposing the death penalty. Smith's defense psychiatrist diagnosed her with dependent personality disorder and major depression," according to Wikipedia.

Susan Smith, who killed her young toddler sons by driving into John D. Long Lake, in South Carolina with her two children strapped into their car seats, could be a free woman in 2024 at 53-years-old.

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