"Hopefully she can start to mend her relationships and reunite with her children," Shannon Smith's lawyer said Wednesday after an Ohio judge granted her early release from prison, where she's serving 10 years for the slaying of her children's father. Smith's 10-year-old son, Bradyn—who saw his mom stab his dad, Robbie Takach, in the chest while Takach held his 15-month-old daughter in 2009—had asked the Warren County judge to keep Smith in jail because "I am afraid of her." However, the judge ruled that Smith, convicted of voluntary manslaughter, will be released after serving seven years in December 2016. She will be on house arrest for one year and probation-like community control for three, reports the Washington Post.
"The judge said she needed to be out to be there for her children—but her children are afraid of her," the children's paternal grandmother, who is raising them, said after the hearing. She had previously expressed that she thought Bradyn and younger sister Brooklynn would be "better able to handle the situation" if their mom was released after the full 10 years, at which point they'd be 15 and 13, respectively. Smith told the judge, "I'm so very sorry and I hate what I've done. I hate the pain that I've caused so many people," reports WLWT. Her lawyer added she "cried throughout the hearing" and had a hard time hearing her son's letter. But he also argued that Bradyn expressed different feelings in the company of Smith's family members. "Obviously he's nervous, but he has told them he's excited to see his mother," he said. Read more on the 10-year-old's letter here.