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Convicted Child Killer Susan Smith Is 'Behaving Herself' Ahead Of Parole Date In Hopes Of Being Released

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Susan Smith

No matter how many true crime documentaries you’ve watched or podcasts you’ve listened to, nothing quite prepares anyone for the gruesome details of murder.

And for child murder, especially, we’re familiar with infamous killers of the past. Andrea Yates, Kenisha Berry, Diane Downs, Dora Luz Buenrostro, Marybeth Tinning — all killed their children for one reason or another.  

Convicted South Carolina killer Susan Smith, who senselessly murder her two young sons in 1994, is another name that can be added to that list.

And now, Smith is making headlines again after a prison source revealed that she's been on her best behavior ahead of her 2024 parole date, all in hopes of being released from prison after serving time for her baseless crimes. 

Who is Susan Smith?

Here's everything you need to know about Susan Smith, the convicted child murderer who is hoping to be released from prison in the next four years.

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Susan Smith murdered her young sons in 1994.

In 1994, Smith strapped her two sons, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex, into their car seats and pushed the vehicle into a lake.

She gained the attention of the media when she told authorities her sons were abducted by a black man. 

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As the psychology behind murder has developed over the last few decades, Smith’s upbringing may provide an explanation for her behavior.

Her father died when she was young, and her stepfather abused her for years. She suffered from depression and attempted suicide multiple times.

Eventually, she married David Smith, though their relationship was tumultuous.

She began seeing another man during a separation, named Tom Findlay, who eventually ended their relationship.

On October 25, 1994, Smith claimed she was carjacked and her two sons were kidnapped.

Both she and David spent nine days reaching out to the public for help finding them. But police grew suspicious when she changed her story each time she was questioned.

She eventually confessed to drowning her children as a result of feeling suicidal and lonely, especially after her fallout with Findlay.

Even more disturbing was the fact that as the car rolled into the lake, Smith stood by and watched.

Scuba divers found the car, as well as the bodies of her two kids.

When brought to trial, her attorneys claimed she had severe depression and dependent personality disorder.

In July 1995, she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. 

Amidst the 25th anniversary of the awful murders, Susan Smith's name was in the news again.

But this time, it wasn't for murder. It’s alleged that while incarcerated, Smith has had sex with at least two prison guards, causing her to be transferred multiple times.

A source at the Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood, South Carolina, say guards now take “special precautions” with Smith. I

n 2000, a then 28-year-old Smith was found to have had sex with Houston Cagle, a 50-year-old prison guard. He later spent three months in jail.

In 2001, Alfred Rowe, a prison captain, also admitted and pleaded guilty to having sex with Smith. He was later sentenced to five years probation.

According to a prison source, “You can imagine that changes how some guards deal with her. The guards never allow her to be alone with one of them; she is always with two or more guards, and extra prisoners are often transported with her. No one trusts her to be alone with a guard."

"She spends most of her time in her cell or working her job, but when she’s being transported, there are always two guards with her, preferably a male and a female,” the source added.

Not only has Smith been disciplined for sexual misconduct while in prison, but she’s had severe unreleased medical issues, as well as violations for drug use and self-mutilation.

In fact, she’s “been disciplined at least five times for various infractions, including self-mutilation and the use and possession of narcotics or marijuana. Each infraction has resulted in the loss of privileges, including loss of visitation, canteen and telephone privileges.”

The prison source added:

“She has been in trouble over the years, but she seems to be calming down. She is a very tortured soul. She goes through the motions every day, but I wouldn’t say she makes much of her life here. She’s just...there. A non-entity. She seems off when you talk to her, like she’s always preoccupied. But she generally follows orders and instructions, and gets through her days.

Sometimes she can be pleasant, but usually she just keeps to herself. It has been a few years since she’s gotten in major trouble. She has been caught with minor contraband in the past year. Extra food, that type of thing. Not anything big.”

Despite public opinion, Smith says she’s misunderstood.

In 2015, she wrote a letter defending herself:

“I didn’t know how to tell the people who loved Michael and Alex that they would never see them again. I had planned to kill myself first and leave a note behind telling what had happened. I didn’t believe I could face my family when the truth was revealed. I am not the monster society thinks I am. I am far from it.

“Something went very wrong that night. I was not myself. I was a good mother and I loved my boys. There was no motive as it was not even a planned event. I was not in my right mind. The thing that hurts me the most is that people think I hurt my children in order to be with a man. That is so far from the truth.”

Her ex-husband, David, says he has never gotten over the loss and pain of his two sons.

He said, “There’s always this nagging and gnawing heartache. It’s there every day, even if I’m not always conscious of it.”

Now, Susan Smith is reportedly on her best behavior ahead of her 2024 parole date.

"She's behaving herself these days," the source says. "She knows that her parole date is four years away and she can't get parole if she isn't being good."

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.