An Ohio man Convicted of killing an infant is scheduled for execution tomorrow by lethal injection. Steve Smith has exhausted all appeals and was denied clemency by Ohio Governor John Kasich earlier this month.
Smith, age 46, is accused of killing the 6-month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 1998. He maintains that, while he admittedly intended to rape the infant, he did not mean to cause her death.
As reported by the Washington Post, Kasich referred to the crime as “among the worst of the worst.” Governor Kasich refused further comment about his decision.
Smith’s defense team Joseph Wilhelm and Tyson Fleming contend that their client should not be executed as Ohio law specifies that “a death sentence requires an intent to kill the victim.” They suggest that 6-month-old Autumn’s death was a “horrible accident,” as their client passed out on top of the infant, smothering her to death.
The defense further argued that Smith suffered a difficult childhood, which led to his deviant behavior. They also argue that Smith was too drunk to realize what he was doing.
The parole board rejected the argument, stating that the “ferociousness” of the assault was proof of his intent to kill the victim. They called the child’s death a “virtual certainty” based on the nature of Smith’s attack.
The Ohio man was convicted of killing the infant and will be executed tomorrow. However, Smith was never charged or convicted of raping the infant.
As reported by Fox 19, Six women will attend the execution. Autumn’s mother, grandmother, and aunt — along with Smith’s daughter, sister, and niece — will witness the lethal injection.
Smith’s family maintains that he is innocent of the murder charge.
Ohio resumed executions by lethal injection in 1999. Smith’s execution will be the 51st in the last 12 years.
Despite the pleas of Smith, his defense, and his family, the Ohio Parole Board and Governor Kasich have deemed the crime too heinous to excuse. Steve Smith will be executed tomorrow for the murder of his girlfriend’s 6-month-old daughter.
[Image via Wikimedia]