Susan Smith claims she “is not a monster” 20 years after she was convicted of killing her two young sons. The South Carolina woman was sentenced to a life term in prison after causing the deaths of Alex Smith and Michael Smith. She and her husband were celebrated at the time of the murders.
“I didn’t know how to tell the people who loved Michael and Alex that they would never see them again,” Susan Smith said in a letter she penned to the State newspaper. She claimed that she loved her sons and did not plan their murders. Smith maintained her only plan that tragic day was to kill herself.
“I had planned to kill myself first and leave a note behind telling what had happened. I didn’t believe I could face my family when the truth was revealed,” Smith also stated in the letter to the newspaper reporter Harrison Cahill. “I am not the monster society thinks I am. I am far from it.”
Alex Smith was 14 months old and Michael Smith was 3 when their mother rolled her car into John D. Long Lake near Union, South Carolina — with the boys strapped into their carseats in the back.
Last August the State newspaper wrote a letter to Susan Smith and asked her to “share her experiences” from both the investigation of the murders and the trial before the 20th anniversary of her sons’ deaths. The letter to the convicted killer was not screened and approved before the anniversary of the murders, so the newspaper opted to share the story on July, 22, 2015 — the 20th anniversary of Smith’s conviction.
“I imagine that was done on purpose [delayed approval of the newspaper letter, I wanted to let you know that I would have most likely responded to your letter because I have yet been able to speak on my behalf,” Smith wrote.”It has been hard to listen to lie after lie and not be able to defend myself.”
Smith, 43, detailed with the newspaper some of her thoughts about the night she killed her children by strapping them into their seats and drowning them in a lake.
In October of 1994, Smith told police officers that while she was stopped at a traffic light on Main Street, a black man forced her out of her car at gunpoint and drove away with her sons still inside.
“Something went very wrong that night. I was not myself. I was a good mother and I loved my boys. The thing that hurts me the most is that people think I hurt my children in order to be with a man,” Smith said. “That is so far from the truth.”
Initial reports to police reportedly indicated that Smith killed her children after she received a letter from the owner of the company where she worked calling off their affair. Nine days after crying in front of news cameras at multiple press conferences, Susan Smith confessed to the police that she had murdered her sons.
Tommy Pope, 16th Circuit Court prosecutor at the time, was unable to convince the jury that Smith deserved the death penalty for drowning her little boys. She was instead sentenced to life in prison for the heinous crime.
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