Susan Smith, 49, has spent more than 26 years in a South Carolina jail for murdering 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex. Pictured in her most recent mugshot in 2016
Infamous child killer Susan Smith, who confessed to drowning her two sons in 1994, is finally behaving herself and adhering to prison rules as she gets closer to her first parole date, new reports claim.
Smith, 49, has spent more than 26 years in a South Carolina jail for murdering 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex after a man she was having an affair with said he didn’t want kids.
She will be eligible for parole in November 2024.
Yet her time behind bars in Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood, S.C., has been marred by infractions for drugs and self-mutilation, as well as two incidents in which she was caught having sex with guards.
Her prison history has left her concerned that she will not make parole in four years time, as she now makes desperate efforts to clean up her act, sources told People.
A prison source told the magazine that Smith understands that the infractions over the past two decades would work against her, and has tried to ensure she now stays out of trouble.
‘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.’
Michael, 3, and 14-month-old Alex drowned after Smith strapped her kids into the back of her car, and let it roll into a lake. She initially told cops she was carjacked by a black man
Smith, pictured in July 1995, eventually confessed to killing her two sons
Smith is said to interact sparingly with other guards and inmates and keeps her head down as she carries out her role as a wardkeeper assistant.
‘She knows it’s a long shot that she’ll be paroled in four years,’ says the source, ‘but she’s giving it her best.’
Smith’s boys disappeared on October 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 and her husband David begged 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.
It was claimed she carried out the heartless crime after a man she was having an affair with left her claiming he didn’t want children.
Smith was sentenced to life in prison for two counts of murder but continued to find herself in trouble behind bars, receiving at least five infractions for self-mutilation and the use and possession of narcotics or marijuana, among other things.
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.
Smith confessed to the sexual encounter with Cagle after testing positive for an STI.
Smith has received a string of infractions during her 26 years in prison. Pictured, Smith in 1995
Pictured, David and Susan Smith arrive at the Union County Sheriff’s office in October 1994, when Susan was still claiming her sons were kidnapped. She has said she is not a ‘monster’
Cops search the lake for the bodies of Susan Smith’s young sons
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 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 to The State‘s Harrison Cahill.
Smith is eligible for parole in 2024 for the murders. Pictured, the funeral service for her sons
It was claimed that Smith killed her sons after a man she was having an affair with said he didn’t want kids. Pictured, David Smith, father of the boys, leaves the church after their funeral
The memorial set up for the young boys at the boat landing of John D. Long Lake
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’
‘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.
Susan Smith pleading for the safe return of her sons in 1994 despite knowing she had murdered them
‘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.
Smith was initially held in the Women’s Correctional Center in Columbia but was transferred to Leath after the sex scandals.
However, Smith’s problems did not end there.
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.
THE 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.
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
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