Amanda Smith: Not a murderer
I was fully prepared to write today about Amanda Smith avoiding the death penalty by pleading guilty to murder charges. I was fully prepared to accept that Solicitor Bob Ariail didn’t feel like he could get a jury to recommend a death sentence. I was fully prepared to accept that Amanda Smith was going to spend the rest of her life in prison for the smothering death of her son Devon Epps.
Instead, just a few minutes ago, WYFF reported that Ariail agreed to let Smith plead to involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice. What’s more, he let her enter an Alford plea. That means Smith doesn’t even have to say she committed the crime. She only has to admit that there is enough evidence to convict her.
Almost exactly three years, Smith’s seven-year-old son Devon was found dead. According to the coroner, he had been smothered. Smith blamed it on a phantom, bearded carjacker. Most investigators and even casual observers knew Smith’s story didn’t add up.
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I wrote a fair amount about this case over the years. The timing of the plea happened to come while I was out of town. That means I have no way of knowing right now what led to today’s developments. I can only assume Ariail’s case fell apart at some point. In the early going, there never seemed to be any doubt about Smith’s guilt. Now, I can’t help but wonder where everything collapsed.
WYFF’s story currently doesn’t mention a sentence, but involuntary manslaughter carried a max sentence of five years. I don’t recall the sentence for obstruction of justice, but if it’s not too serious, there is a chance Smith won’t spend more than another couple of years in jail.
Update:WYFF updated its site to say Smith received a sentence of eight total years. The station noted Smth’s sentence was one year longer than her son’s life.
Because I’m not in Greenville this week to get all the details I will remain…speechless.
If you’d like to read all the background of the case, see any of the links below.
Reading between the lines of Devon Epps’ death
Devon Epps, Amanda Smith and the difficulties of reporting crime news
Devon Epps: Scene of the Crime?
Rapid Eye Reality coverage of Epps case makes it to print
Devon Epps: Waiting
Devon Epps: Pictures
The Missing Memorial Page
On Being Devon Epps’ Mom
Amanda Smith arrested in death of son Devon Epps