I Am Not A Monster! | The Susan Leigh Smith Story

(Susan Smith. Picture credit: biography)

When it comes to traumatic childhoods. nobody could say that Susan Leigh Smith had an easy road. In fact a lot of people reading her story would wonder how she managed to make it through and truthfully speaking she almost didn't. But this isn't a post to pour out all of the sympathies for Susan Leigh Smith, it is a post about her crimes and as always I like to take a little delve back into the past to show a murderer's background, to give you an idea of where they came from and the circumstances surrounding their upbringing. 

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So, back to the case. Susan Leigh Smith as I mentioned at the beginning of the post had a really difficult childhood with having lost her father from suicide at the age of just 6 years old and attempting to take her own life at 13. As if those tragic circumstances were not enough, her mother's new husband had also been sexually abusing her. I should have mentioned at the beginning of this post that some of the details that I will be sharing will be quite disturbing but I will be as sensitive with the details as I can. As always, if you feel that you can't continue reading the post, I completely understand.

Susan was born on the 26th of September 1971 (she will be 50 this year, 2021) in Union, South Carolina (USA) and although her home life was troubled, Susan was a very bright girl and seemed to get on very well at school and was very popular. She was known at school as a very friendly and fun girl who was often awarded for her good deeds and caring personality. 

It was like Susan was living two lives, one of the scared child who was still trying to come to terms with the death of her father whilst having to deal with her horrendous stepfather, and the other who seemed to be the life and soul of the party at school and excelled at everything she turned her hand to.

As Susan got older, the cracks were beginning to show and she began having an affair with a married man in her later teenage years. Being a girl who was starved of affection and so desperate for some love and proper attention, this relationship became everything to her. Susan wanted the fairy tale, the married man had other ideas. Despite the relationship being rocky, Susan managed to graduate school with flying colours but then came the bombshell. The married man cut all ties with her and she fell to pieces. 

She was just a young girl with her whole life in front of her but here she was again, attempting to take her own life, feeling abandoned and used yet again. This became a theme for Susan over the coming years. She based a lot of importance on romantic relationships and if they didn't go her way she would fall into a deep depression.

There was a ray of light in all of the darkness when she met and married David Smith and they would go on to have two beautiful boys. They looked like the perfect family but sadly that all fell to pieces because the couple had struggled to trust one another and constantly accused each other of having affairs. There was a constant saga of on again, off again before the pair finally called it quits.

Susan found herself on her own again but she wasn't fully alone, she had her two beautiful boys and for some people that would have been enough but not for Susan. Susan had this idea of how she wanted her life to be and she wanted the perfect relationship especially if it was with someone who had money.

Susan ended up getting together with a wealthy man and the pair had fun but it was obvious that they both wanted different things. It seemed that the man was looking for some no-strings attached fun but as always, Susan wanted more. The man wrote Susan a letter basically telling her that he didn't want to carry the relationship any further because of her two children.

Instead of ripping up the letter, throwing it in the bin and saying good riddance! Susan began to see her children as a real problem. Instead of looking at herself, her own behaviour and actions, she began to believe that the reason she wasn't finding happiness in a luxurious lifestyle with men was because she had the two boys always around her, like they were cramping her style and she didn't feel young, free and sexy having to drag two kids around the place. It's obvious that she was just unlucky with men too, the ones she met seemed to be out for a good time and nothing else whereas it was very possible that she could have met someone decent one day who would have had no problems with the children.

Susan went over this time and again in her mind and she thought about what her life would have been like with that wealthy man had she not have had the children around. 

Then something truly horrible happened on the 25th of October 1994. Susan reported to the police that she had been carjacked by a black man who took both of the children away.

The whole community and beyond was shocked and felt devastated for this young woman who was crying to the TV cameras begging for someone to bring her children home safe. Her ex husband David stood by her side and held her hand through the whole ordeal. For nine days Susan put on the performance of a lifetime in front of the police, the community and the media.

(Susan and David. Picture credit: Penn Live )

Then the truth came out...

There was no black man who attacked her and took the children, nobody else was to blame. Susan took her two beautiful young boys, Michael (3) and Alexander (14 months old), strapped them tightly into the car and let it roll into a lake (known as the John D. Long lake in South Carolina, USA) and just stood there as her two boys drowned to death. 

And for those nine days after she murdered her two children she lied and manipulated everyone around her. She stood there for nine days, looked people in the eye, watched people search for her children knowing full well what she had done.

One can have sympathy about Susan's childhood and all that she went through but she was a very smart woman, she knew what she was doing and when things didn't go her way or somebody told her no, all hell broke loose and this time she murdered her own children because she was selfish, wanted (in her eyes) a care free life, maybe get that wealthy guy who didn't want kids to come back again now that the kids were out of the picture? 

This wasn't just a random act by someone who was too ill to know what they were doing. She planned it, she lied about it on a massive scale, stood by and watched the police and members of the public continue to search for the boys. She managed to carry on her performance for nine days, even lying to her children's father David.

And one can only imagine how David must have felt, he stood by her through the whole thing, worried sick about his children and then finding out someone had killed them and that someone was his ex-wife who he had been comforting all of this time. 

(A beautiful little memorial for Alexander and Michael at the lake: Picture credit: AE Networks)

My mind also goes to the wealthy guy who wrote the letter to Susan saying that he didn't want her children. Yes, the guy sounded like a right rat bag but we don't know the full story of the relationship, there might have been more to it. Susan might have been an nightmare to be with because of past issues and lack of trust. I wonder how he felt, if he felt a huge amount of guilt but I'm not blaming the guy for what Susan did, he would have had no idea what was coming. I think (in my opinion) that Susan would have done this anyway whatever the circumstances. She seemed to be a ticking time bomb and if it wasn't going to be herself she harmed it was going to be other people and it would have only been a matter of time. 

On the 3rd of November 1994 with the net closing in and no more lies to tell, Susan finally confessed. She claimed that she wasn't in the right frame of mind when it happened and she didn't have a motive.

At her trial the prosecution believed that Susan knew fine well what she was doing when she killed her children and believed that the letter from her ex wealthy lover was the straw that broke the camels back. Also taking into consideration the way she manipulated everyone around her. They wanted to sentence her to death but the jury (possibly taking into consideration her traumatic past) found her guilty and she was sentenced to life in prison.

(Susan Leigh Smith in recent times. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

Her defence team used her past to gain some sympathy and told the court that Susan drove herself and the two boys to the lake as she was going to take her own life as well their lives, apparently she decided not to end her own life. 

Through the years that Susan has been behind bars, trouble had always been with her. If it hasn't been drugs that she's been involved in, it's been two highly publicised encounters with prison guards. Susan and the guards had sex which somehow got discovered resulting in the guards being transferred to other prisons.

Susan is said to be eligible for parole in 2024, not too far away and she turns 50 this year. In interviews over the years she has claimed that she isn't a monster and down played her role in her sons deaths. Whatever your thoughts are on this case, I'm sure people will have very different opinions. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest case and I'll hopefully see you in the next one x 

RIP Michael & Alexander. 

Further reading & sources:

Susan Smith Article | New York Post

Susan Smith | Murderpedia

Susan Smith | News Clip

Susan Smith | Wikipedia

Susan Smith | Inside Edition

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  1. Anyone that murders children should never be granted parole, and when someone murders their own children they should never see the light of day. I think in my own personal opinion that when someone kills their own flesh and blood, their own children they should be put to death. I don't care if they have had a bad past or a horrid terrible childhood, there's no excusing it at all. This woman is a selfish horrific monster and does not deserve freedom of any sort. Incredible post and excellent true crime story it was amazing. 🙏🏼❤

  2. OMG, as I always said, the murders of children is always the worst crime ever ! Especially when the parents are responsibles for the death of their own children. In that case, Suzan was such a selfish person that she killed her 2 lovely boys because all she want was to be in a relationship. She thought about herself and she want the romance, the lifestyle, the money... I'm sick to my stomach !!! I can't believe she did that. Her childhood wasn't easy but there is no excuse when it came to murder unless it's self defense. She lied to everybody, the communauty, her ex, to the news... She manipulate everyone. She was a narcissistic monster. I'm heartbroken for Michael and Alexander. She killed them in cold blood and she planned everything. She must stay in prison for the rest of her life ! Justice has to send a strong message here ! Protect children and sentenced for every crime for life without parole before 25 years. Awesome WORK, such a nice surprise to read you on Saturday !!! Now, it's time for hearing your own opinion from your Patreon Podcast. Thank you so much Xxxxx

  3. Thank you so much for the comments and taking time to read the post. I really appreciate it x