On the night of October 25, 1994 Susan Smith took the lives of her two sons. Susan Smith committed the most unthinkable act when she broke humanity’s most sacred trust, the love of a mother for her children (Crime Library).
On November 18, 1994, a hearing was held before Circuit Judge John Hayes at the request of Solicitor Thomas Pope. Pope requested that Susan undergo a psychological examination by an impartial physician to determine whether she was criminally responsible for the crime she had confessed to and if she was competent to stand trial (Crime Library). On July 11, 1995, after a two-day hearing, Judge Howard ruled that Susan was mentally competent to stand trial. The trial was scheduled on Tuesday, July 18, 1995, the day the trial was set to begin, the Union County Courthouse received a bomb threat that required the evacuation of everyone inside. The man who telephoned the threat was quickly found and arrested. Opening statements began on Wednesday, July 19, 1995 and the closing statements were given on Saturday, July 22, 1995 (crime Library).
Susan Smith had been convicted of killing her two children but what really happened that night. On the night of October 25, 1994 she came to the Shore of John D. Long Lake, Susan drove across a portion of the seventy-five-foot boat ramp and parked her 1990 burgundy Mazda Protégé in the middle of the ramp. At first Mrs. Smith wanted to commit suicide. She shifted the Mazda into neutral and felt the car slowly begin to roll down the remaining length of the boat ramp. The car only traveled a few yards before Susan stepped on the brake. She opened her door and stepped out of the car. Her attempt at suicide was not accomplished but that little incident didn’t conclude her big scheme (Crime Library).
Susan Smith released the emergency brake and softly closed the driver’s side door. The car drifted into John D. Long Lake and entered the water slowly and did not submerge immediately. It took almost six minutes for the car to be fully submerged (Crime Library).
She turned away from the sinking car and began to run toward a small house. Shirley McCloud was calming herself in the living room of her home reading the Union Daily Times “Please help me!” “He’s got my kids and he’s got my car.” Shirley led Susan Smith into her home and Susan told her, “A black man has got my kids and my car.” Shirley’s husband, Rick told his son Rick, Jr. to call 911 (Crime Library).
She claimed that “I was stopped at the red light at Monarch Mills and a black man jumped in and told me to drive.” “I asked him why was he doing this and he said shut up and drive or I’ll kill you.” Susan continued and told Shirley that, at the abductor’s direction, she drove northeast of Union for about four miles until, “he made me stop right past the sign.” Shirley confirmed that the sign was for the John D. Long Lake, which was located, several hundred yards outside of Shirley’s front door. “He told me to get out. He made me stop in the middle of the road.
Nobody was coming, not a single car.” Susan continued, “I asked him, ‘why can’t I take my kids?'” Susan told Shirley that the man said, “I don’t have time.” Susan said that the man pushed her out of her car while he was pointing a gun at her side. Susan continued by telling Shirley that “When he finally got me out he said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt your kids.” Susan described how she had laid on the ground as the man drove away as both of her sons cried out for their mother (Crime Library).
During the investigation Susan and using the description she provided composed a sketch of a black man, around forty years of age, wearing a dark knit cap, a dark shirt, jeans and a plaid jacket. Throughout October 26, 1994, Union County sheriff deputies and SLED agents searched the area surrounding John D. Long Lake. The deputies found that Mrs. Smith had lied in many different aspects of her story. On Thursday, November 3, 1995, the ninth day since the carjacking and disappearance of the Michael and Alex Smith Susan Smith admitted to murdering her two kids.
The reasoning Susan gave for killing her two kids was Susan told Wells about the crushing isolation she had felt while driving her Mazda along Highway 49 on the night of October 25th and the consuming desire she had to commit suicide. Susan had planned to drive her sons to her mother’s house, but emotionally she felt so bad that she felt even her mother could not help her. Susan told Wells that her whole life had felt wrong and that she felt she could not escape the loneliness, isolation and failure that had ensnared her. Susan told Wells about her abortion, her troubled marriage to David and her affair with Tom Findlay.
She wanted to commit suicide, but she did not want her sons to suffer. Susan believed if she killed her sons first and then committed suicide, that her sons would suffer less, rather than if she committed suicide and left them on their own. Yet, something was stopping her from surrendering to her depression and loneliness. She did not want to commit suicide, what she wanted was relief from all the stresses and burdens that overwhelmed her. She felt that her life was filled with loss and rejection, and that the responsibilities of being a single mother were overwhelming (Crime Library).
The only Party involved was Susan Smith. The popular opinion was that Susan Smith was a cold-blooded murderer who killed her children in the hope of reclaiming her lover would decide whether she would die in the electric chair or receive a life in prison sentence.
She was sentenced to life in prison but is up for parole in 2025.