Remember Susan Smith? Back in 1994, she made headlines by letting her two children—Alex, 14 months, and Michael, 3—drown in a car that she let roll into a lake. Now, People has learned a little more about the woman who is serving life without parole at Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood, SC, and isn't allowed to give interviews. "The holidays fill her with guilt and regret," says a source who has known her for years. "She cries for her children every Christmas. She knows she did the most horrible thing imaginable, and it tears her up every day. She's a tortured soul." Now 48, Smith is said to work as a wardkeeper assistant, keep mostly to herself, and have only one solace: a Bible in her cell with a photo of the sons she killed.
Law enforcement encountered Smith in October 1994, when she claimed a black man had carjacked her and kidnapped her two young sons. After nine days of emotional pleas, her story came apart, and she admitted her crime. Her motive? A man she was dating didn't want kids, she said. Now behind bars, she's had sex with two men—a prison guard and prison captain—who both pleaded guilty and were punished to three months in jail and five years probation, respectively. She has also been disciplined for infractions including marijuana use and self-mutilation. But in a 2015 letter to the State, she insisted she's not a bad person: "I am not the monster society think I am," she wrote. "I am far from it. Something went very wrong that night. I was not myself." (Read more about Smith's letter.)