Jessica Smith, the 42-year-old mom whose shocking murder of her own two-year-old daughter in August of 2014 made national headlines, will not face the death penalty for her horrific crime after taking a plea deal that will put her behind bars for a minimum of 40 years, The Daily Astorian newspaper reported. Smith's actual sentence will be handed down next week.
In the chilling incident in a motel in Cannon Beach, Oregon, on August 1 of 2014, Smith also slashed the throat and wrists of her 13-year-old daughter after drowning her toddler, Isabella Smith, in a bathtub. The mother drugged the little girl to keep her quiet before killing her.
#Jessica =Smith pleads guilty to killing 2-year-old daughter https://t.co/tOT0sl7ftJ Sentencing 8/25But the 13-year-old, Alana Smith, told investigators that her mother only helped her slit her own throat. The purpose of the carnage, according to what the teen told the paramedics who rescued her, was to prevent their estranged father from obtaining custody of the two girls, The Oregonian newspaper reported.
— anne hillebrand (@annehillebrand2) August 17, 2016
After she was discovered in the motel room bleeding profusely from slash wounds on her neck and wrists and appearing "very ashen, very gray," the Cannon Beach police chief testified that Alana Smith came across as "eerily calm" to her rescuers who airlifted her to a trauma center in Portland, Oregon.
In fact, when police showed up at The Surfsand Resort motel answering a 911 call from the housekeeping staff there, they knocked on the door of the Smith's room and heard a weakened voice, one that turned out to belong to Alana, telling them to go away.
Alana Smith survived her injuries.
The following video from the cable network Headline News contains further background details on the horrific Jessica Smith child murder case.The two-year-old, Isabella Smith, was already dead when Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn broke into the motel room with the town's assistant fire chief, Frank Swedenborg, KOIN TV News reported. The toddler was propped up on pillows on the same bed where her sister lay bleeding out.
But the mom, Jessica Smith, was nowhere to be found.
Alana told investigators that she believed her mom had driven into a nearby forested area where she planned to take her own life. In fact, she left a letter that was found in the motel room that could be interpreted as a suicide note.
"To whom it may concern," the opening of the note read. "(Alana) and I wanted to opt out of life and also spare Isa's little life from being bullied and abused."But Jessica Smith did not commit suicide in the forest.
Instead, the searchers in a local Coast Guard helicopter found her three days later in her Chevy Suburban parked on a rural road in a logging region.
Jessica Smith later confessed to detectives, saying that she drowned little Isabella in the motel bathtub in order to "end her misery," adding that the toddler "just fell asleep peacefully, went into the water and was gone."
She drugged the two-year-old with an excessive dose of an over-the-counter sleep aid, possibly Nyquil, police said, according to an Oregonian report.
Jessica Smith, accused of killing daughter, talks of wanting to 'end her misery' in video: A video interview of… https://t.co/J3f1VZD8KGThe children were scheduled for a visit with their father, Greg Smith, who was in the process of divorcing Jessica Smith. The mom claimed that her estranged husband was abusive to her and the kids, but Greg Smith stated in the court records had received a strange "barrage" of text messages from Jessica, who had filed for a restraining order against him, as well as "bizarre" voice messages from his older daughter, according to a KPTV News report.
— Breaking PDX News (@breakingPDXnews) July 8, 2016
"The language Alanna used is not typical of someone her age and it sounds as though she is reading from something that Jessica scripted," Greg Smith told investigators in a written statement. "She made statements such as, 'I'm so sick I can hardly talk,' (and) 'I can't sleep very well because I'm tormented by the thought of you in our lives.'"
RELATED STORIES:Sheborah Thomas: Horrifying New Details Of How Mom Drowned Kids In Bathtub Revealed In Prosecution ChargesKatlyn Marin: Mom Murdered Daughter Brielle, Tried Framing Lover Then Ordered Him Killed, Prosecutors SayAlyssa Garcia: Mom, 27, And Teen Lover Burned Her 4-Year-Old Boy's Body To Conceal Horrifying AbuseRachel Bostian: Friend Helped 5-Year-Old's Mom Beat Boy To Death Because Child Was Hungry, Charges Say, Enters Guilty PleaKimberly Martines: Young Mom Murdered Baby With Spoonful Of Salt For Pathetic Reason, Prosecutors SayTami Huntsman: Mom Charged In Horrifying Torture, Murder Of 2 Small Children Will Face Death Penalty, Weeps In CourtBert Franklin: Cheating Married Dentist Leading 'Double Life' Murdered 19-Month-Old Boy, Charges SayZoey Wagoner: Tragic Baby Girl's One Year Of Life Made 'Hell' By Horror Parents, Court Says
Jessica Smith entered an Alford plea of guilty, meaning that she recognizes that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict her, but she does not admit her guilt, even though she previously confessed. The mom had originally pleaded not guilty, but she changed her plea to spare her family and her surviving daughter further "stress and harm." If convicted in a trial, Smith likely would have been sentenced to death.
[Images via Clasp County Courts | Family Courtesy Photo]