Mother who falsely accused Black men of taking sons she killed could be freed in 2024

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Susan Smith has been disciplined for at least five infractions, including using drugs or having sex with prison staff.

Susan Smith was convicted of killing her two young sons in 1994. 

Nine days after her desperate cries that an armed Black man had abducted them, the South Carolina mother admitted that she was the one who drove her car into a lake with the children strapped inside it. 

The 1994 mug shot of convicted-killer mom Susan Smith, who drove into a South Carolina lake with her young sons strapped into their seats. Smith, who told police a Black man with a gun had stolen her car and drove off with the children inside, is eligible for parole in 2024. (S.C. Department of Corrections)

Smith, now 49 years old, has been incarcerated at Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood for nearly two and a half decades. 

“She’s behaving herself these days,” a prison source told People magazine. “She knows that her parole date is four years away, and she can’t get parole if she isn’t being good.”

Smith will be eligible for parole in November 2024. 

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She became a household name and workplace water cooler-conversation topic in October 1994 after she tearfully told police and investigators she had been carjacked by a Black man who had taken off with her two young sons. For nine days, she made tearful pleas for the safe return of Michael, who was three years old, and Alex, 14 months.

But Smith had actually strapped the boys into their car seats then pushed her vehicle into John D. Long Lake. 

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Her case raised awareness about post-partum depression, Even though evidence showed that Smith was secretly dating a man who didn’t want children, her rumored mental illness gained her significant support. 

Over the past decade, Smith has been disciplined in prison for “at least five” infractions, including the use of narcotics or marijuana. In 2000, Smith was disciplined for having sex four times with a guard. A year later, a captain nabbed five years probation after confessing to sex with her. She was disciplined twice in 2010 and again in 2015 on drug charges, and she lost privileges for more than a year.

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Despite her struggles, Smith has maintained that she was not in a healthy state of mind on the night she murdered her sons. 

“Something went very wrong that night. I was not myself,” she told The State in 2015. “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.”

“She knows it’s a long shot that she’ll be paroled in four years,” a source told People more recently. “But she’s giving it her best.”

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