Mom Who Drowned Boys 20 Years Ago: I'm No 'Monster'

Susan Smith says she 'was not in my right mind' that night
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2015 6:31 PM CDT
In this July 27, 1995 file photo, Susan Smith is escorted into the Union County Courthouse in Union, S.C.   (AP Photo/Lou Krasky, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Twenty years ago this week, Susan Smith was convicted of strapping her two little boys into their car seats and letting the car roll into a South Carolina lake. After 3-year-old Michael and 1-year-old Alex drowned, Smith made up a story about being carjacked by a black man before admitting the truth nine days later. In a letter to the State, Smith says the public has the wrong idea about her. "I am not the monster society thinks I am," the 43-year-old writes to reporter Harrison Cahill. "I am far from it." For one thing, she disputes prosecutors' contention that she killed the boys to be with a man.

"Something went very wrong that night," writes Smith. "I was not myself. ... There was no motive as it was not even a planned event. I was not in my right mind.” She made up the carjacking story, she says, because "I didn't know how to tell the people who loved Michael & Alex that they would never see them again." She also reveals that she planned to kill herself and leave a note about what happened before the truth came out. Smith is serving a life sentence. NBC recalls a sad coda: In 1996, seven people, including four children, drowned while visiting memorials for the boys at John D. Long Lake. (Read more child killings stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
5%
4%
27%
1%
6%
57%