Infamous child killer Susan Smith’s secret life of sex and drugs behind bars has been revealed as she serves life for drowning her two sons.
Smith, 46, has spent more than 20 years in a South Carolina jail for murdering 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex in 1995.
She’d initially denied any involvement, claiming her kids had been kidnapped by a black man during a carjacking, and made numerous tearful pleas for their safe return.
But her story quickly unraveled and she was forced to admit she had strapped her kids into the back of her car, and let it roll into a lake. Smith was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole until 2024.
Since then, Smith has found her time behind bars in Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood, S.C., married by infractions for drugs, sex and self-mutilation.
Monster mom: Susan Smith when she was first arrested in 1994, right, and in 2017, left
Murdered: Smith initially blamed a ‘black man’ she claimed carjacked her and then sped off with the boys, who were found strapped into her car at the bottom of a lake
Smith has had sex with a couple of guards during the past 22 years and in 2000, then 28, she was disciplined for having sex four times with 50-year-old prison guard Houston Cagle – who was later jailed for three months for the affair.
The following year, prison captain Alfred Rowe also pleaded guilty to having sex with Smith and was sentenced to five years probation.
She has also run afoul of drugs rules, after she was caught with marijuana and narcotics. She was disciplined twice in 2010 and once in 2015 for the offences, losing privileges for more than a year.
Privileges that can be lost, include visitation, canteen and telephone privileges.
Smith said she made up the lie to protect the boys’ loved ones (including their father David Smith at right), not to shield herself. ‘I didn’t know how to tell the people who loved Michael and Alex’
Locked up: Smith was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison for killing 14-month-old Alex and 3-year-old Michael. She is up for parole in 2024, when she’ll be 53
Just in the past seven years, Smith has been disciplined five times for offences which include self-mutilation.
That may have resulted in a demotion from her position as senior groundskeeper, as she was working as a landscape laborer this summer.
Smith insists she is ‘not the monster society thinks I am’ and revealed to reporters in 2015 that she had been planning to kill herself, not her sons, on the night of the tragedy.
‘I had planned to kill myself first and leave a note behind telling what had happened,’ Smith said. ‘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,’ she wrote in a letter toThe State’s Harrison Cahill.
Smith’s boys disappeared Oct. 25, 1994. That day, she told deputies they had been taken by an unidentified black man during a carjacking and she wept on national television as she begged for their safe return.
Smith said she made up the lie to protect the boys’ loved ones, not to shield herself. ‘I didn’t know how to tell the people who loved Michael and Alex’
20 years on: Susan Smith has spent the last two decades paying for her crime but says she wasn’t in her ‘right mind’ when she killed the boys
‘Something went very wrong that night,’ she wrote. ‘I was a good mother and I loved my boys…I was not in my right mind.’
Smith also responded to the decades of assertions that she killed her boys in order to stay with the man who’d recently broken off their affair, Tom Findley.
‘The thing that hurts me the most is that people think I hurt my children in order to be with a man,’ Smith said. ‘That is so far from the truth.’
She made no apparent mention of her decision to choose a black carjacker as the imagined culprit in the sensational Southern killing, a case which at the time incensed the black community nationwide.
Per a 2014 report in The State that detailed her troubled world behind bars, Smith hasn’t exhibited little desire to put back the pieces of her fractured life.
‘Most murderers are one-time, crime-of-passion people, and they end up becoming good people,’ former director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections Jon Ozmint told The State.
‘Susan Smith just hasn’t been able to fit that mold.’
Just as was so widely reported following the 1994 arrest that rocked the little town of Union, Ozmint described Smith as the vain, manipulative.
‘She is truly a narcissist, and she thrives on the media’s attention. Someone like that, I didn’t want to feed that narcissism. Other than passing her on the yard, I wouldn’t give her any extra, undue attention,’ Ozmint said.
On two occasions in 2000, Ozmint said guards at Smith’s initial prison–Women’s Correctional Center in Columbia–had sex with Smith despite warnings she should not be left alone with male correctional officers.
Justice: David Smith (right) holds up a picture of his murdered sons Michael and Alex and smiles after his ex-wife Smith (left) was sentenced to life inprisonment
‘We were back there and arrested a captain and a lieutenant for having improper relations with her,’ Ozmint told The State.
Both men lost their jobs, but according to a fellow convict, Smith has found ways to continue her jailhouse delinquency despite being transferred to Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood.
Stephanie Hulsey told the National Enquirer back in 2012 that Smith nearly killed herself at age 40 when she slashed her wrists with a smuggled-in razor.
‘There was blood behind spurting everywhere and she was weeping, but she wasn’t crying out in pain,’ Hulsey said. ‘She used to say, ‘You don’t feel pain when you cut. Cutting takes all the pain away.’
Hulsey also recalled a jailhouse girlfriend who Smith kept in addition to male paramours with whom she kept in touch via letters.
‘Her lover is a big woman who looks like a man,’ said Hulsey, who added that one male pen pal has sent Smith thousands of dollars.
HE SUSAN SMITH SAGA: AN HORRIFIC DECEIT THAT CAPTIVATED AMERICA
Smith’s boys, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex, disappeared Oct. 25, 1994.
She told deputies they had been taken by an unidentified black man during a carjacking and she wept on national television as she begged for their safe return.
Nine days later, Smith confessed, and the boys’ bodies were found in the car, submerged a few feet from a boat ramp at John D. Long Lake in Union County.
Sad: A memorial to the young sons Smith murdered in 1994 sits beside the lake in which the boys were purposely drowned
Smith was convicted in July 1995. Prosecutor Tommy Pope had sought the death penalty, and he considers the case a loss.
Smith’s lawyers vigorously fought to save her life. They brought in testimony she had sex with her stepfather and several other men to argue she was depressed and intended to stay in the car and commit suicide with her sons, but decided to jump out after releasing the emergency brake.
The case incensed the black community because Smith claimed a black man carjacked her and drove off with the children.
October 17, 1994: By most accounts, the Susan Smith saga truly began when a man named Tom Findley, with whom Smith was having an affair, broke things off. He said in a letter that he did not want children.
October 25, 1994: Susan Smith drowned Alex and Michael in her car, which she eased off a lake boat access ramp
October 25, 1994: Smith tells police she was carjacked by a black man, who drove off with the boys
November 2, 1994: Smith and her husband David famously appear on national TV. Smith tearfully begs for the boys return
A memorial to the slain boys at the edge of the lake where they drowned
November 3, 1994: Smith confesses to drowning Alex and Michael. That same day, divers recover the boys’ bodies beneath 18 feet of water
July 22, 1995: A jury finds Smith guilty on two counts of murder
July 28, 1995: Smith is sentenced to life in prison
September 11, 2000: Smith is found guilty of sexual misconduct after being caught engaging in sex acts with two correctional officers, who were both fired.
Smith received revocation of 45 days of recreational privileges and 75 days of canteen privileges
Smith was also disciplined in April 2009, April 2010 and in June 2012.
Sources: The State and S.C. Department of Corrections via Herald Online