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  1. #1
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    AZ - Betty Smithey, Nation's Longest-Serving Female Inmate Free

    America's longest-serving female inmate, 69, walks free
    49 years after strangling 15-month-old baby to death
    (Daily Mail)
    The country's longest-serving female inmate has been freed - 49 years after she was convicted of strangling a 15-month-old baby to death.

    Betty Smithey, 69, walked out of the gates of Perryville state prison in Goodyear, Arizona with the help of a cane on Monday afternoon, just hours after she appeared at a parole hearing.
    ---
    Smithey said she decided to change in 1983 when she received a letter from Emma Simmons, Sandy Gerberick's mother, saying she had forgiven her for the crime.

    'She made me feel that I wasn't a monster,' Smithey said. 'I felt if she could forgive me for taking her child's life, I could forgive myself. It was my responsibility to try to become a better person than I was.'
    much more, with pictures, at link above

  2. #2
    Kimberlyd125's Avatar
    Kimberlyd125 is offline Softball is for everyone. Fast pitch is for athletes.
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    So, four years before killing this child, she kidnapped another one from a babysitting job.

    I think life should mean life.

    JMO
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  3. #3
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    Smithey served four years in a juvenile prison for the kidnapping crime. Forty-nine years seems enough - though, really, who can say what 'enough' is when faced with such a shocking crime?

    That the child's mother wrote her and forgave her 29 years ago is a key here.

  4. #4
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    I guess since she did serve her time she should be released according to the parole board. Not sure I would ever leave a young child in her care.....ever. Just sayin.

  5. #5
    Kimberlyd125's Avatar
    Kimberlyd125 is offline Softball is for everyone. Fast pitch is for athletes.
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    But what you wanna bet she is around young children soon?

    IMO that's a risk not worth taking.
    Glove Findin'
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberlyd125 View Post
    So, four years before killing this child, she kidnapped another one from a babysitting job.

    I think life should mean life.

    JMO
    I agree, but at least she should be supervised.
    "Life is life's greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life's scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest..." Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

    Let's bring Michelle Parker home: http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...ichelle+parker

    All statements made by me are based on my opinion.

  7. #7
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    If she were male, how much time would she have served?
    email me


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  8. #8
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    I doubt if the board would have voted to free her even now, but she does have the support of, and is going to live with, a niece.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferTx View Post
    I guess since she did serve her time she should be released according to the parole board. Not sure I would ever leave a young child in her care.....ever. Just sayin.
    She did serve a really long time.
    But I sure wouldn't let her to babysit any children either.
    Just my opinion

  10. #10
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    AZ - Betty Smithey, Nation's Longest-Serving Female Inmate Free

    Betty Smithey Released: Nation's Longest Serving Female Inmate Free

    In 1963, Betty Smithey walked into prison with a life sentence for murder. On Monday, she walked out with a cane.

    America's longest serving female inmate, Smithey was released from the Arizona State Prison Complex after spending 49 years behind bars for the murder of a 15-month-old child.

    "It's wonderful driving down the road and not seeing any barbed wire," Smithey said, according to the Arizona Republic. "I am lucky, so very lucky."

    Smithey, with a history of mental illness, was convicted in the 1963 New Year's Day murder of toddler Sandy Gerberick, who she strangled while babysitting. The court sentenced her to life without parole.

    Smithey's repeated appeals went unfulfilled for decades under an Arizona law that stipulates only an acting governor can grant clemency to an inmate. Eventually, acting-governor Jan Brewer lowered her sentence to 48-years to life.

    Smithey told the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency that a letter of forgiveness from her victim's mother, sent 19 years after the murder, inspired her to turn her life around...


    (Oh, how nice. Unfortunately, Sandy Gerberick, the murdered child, was not available for comment.)


    LINK:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...6pLid%3D192868


  11. #11
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    I don't know that this thread is in the right area of the forum. I didn't see any evidence the victim in this case was sexually assaulted, just that she was strangled. This area of WS is for pedofiles and not every child killer is a pedofile.

    Just thinking outloud. If the victims mother chose to forgive her child's killer, who are we to disapprove? Especially as a victim friendly forum. If the childs mother could forgive, personally, I think as a victim friendly forum we should support the mother's decision.

    In general life sentences not being life sentences is a whole 'nother issue, and I do not want to single it out to this case.
    ~JMO~

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  12. #12
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    I think she belongs in crimes against children, or spotlight on children, but she's not a pedophile and she's not being kept incarcerated.

  13. #13
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    I'd guess up to the minute since the crime has already been solved and the perp has done her time. The news being that she had been America's longest held female prisoner.

    I am going to ask the mods to move this thread if they believe it best fits another area of WS.
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


    Long Lost Love - Discovery ID - Disappeared - Bob Harrod Case

    You can now purchase Mr. Harrod's Disappeared episode through Amazon, iTunes or YouTube.

  14. #14
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    Parole vs Forgiveness

    Quote Originally Posted by Cubby View Post
    I don't know that this thread is in the right area of the forum. I didn't see any evidence the victim in this case was sexually assaulted, just that she was strangled. This area of WS is for pedofiles and not every child killer is a pedofile.

    Just thinking outloud. If the victims mother chose to forgive her child's killer, who are we to disapprove? Especially as a victim friendly forum. If the childs mother could forgive, personally, I think as a victim friendly forum we should support the mother's decision.

    In general life sentences not being life sentences is a whole 'nother issue, and I do not want to single it out to this case.
    Murder is a crime against society, not just against an individual or a relative of a victim. The subjects of parole and forgiveness are two entirely separate issues.

    When someone receives a life sentence (instead of a death sentence), parole is one way that the sentence can be lifted.

    There are many issues and factors for a parole board to consider, including the comments and opinions of members of society and the opinions of a victim's family. However, although any person can forgive a convicted child murderer, it should not be the deciding factor regarding parole. That decision rests with the state parole board and not with a relative of the victim.

    In the case of the murder of this 15 month-old child, how can you assume that no sexual assult occurred? Does it matter? This woman strangled a baby to death. Often, in cases of murder, the perpetrator is convicted of murder and not of molestation.

    Following this logic (that only pedophiles be discussed here), Fred Coffey should NOT have been included in this forum topic area - because he was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder of a 10 year-old girl and NOT for sexually molesting her.

    Even though Coffey is was convicted of several other incidents involving child molestation and rape, those convictions did NOT result in the life sentence for which he was up for parole.

    That said, Coffey is indeed a pedophile. By his own admission he had molested over 100 children by the time of his 1986 trial, and he has multiple convictions for molesting children. He was twice sentenced to Death for murdering Amanda Ray, and because of some fancy appeal work by his lawyer, won a third trial which kept all mention of those molestations out of sentence consideration by the jury. He has been enjoying life at state expense ever since.

    The question is: should any recommendations to Coffey's next Parole Board (July 2015) mention that he is a pedophile?

    I do not know the specifics of whether or not Betty Smithey was ever a pedophile. I sincerely hope that she got the mental health treatment that she needed while in prison, and that she is never again allowed near any children.

    When anyone who has been convicted of any crime against a child comes up for parole, the public should be alerted and allowed to weigh in.
    Last edited by Richard; 12-31-2012 at 10:34 AM. Reason: spelling

  15. #15
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    Personally, I see a frail old woman who probably doesn't have long to live anyway. I do worry about her mental illness though, and wonder how she is going to deal with that on the outside. 49 years is a heck of a lot more than I see many men get for killing children - but that's beside the point.

    At least I don't have to pay for 3 hots and a cot for her anymore, but wonder if she's eligible for Social Security?

    IMHO rarely do we see life as "life" anymore. 25 years or so unless you're sentenced to death.

    This is a tough debate, but I don't think anyone is in danger of her anymore.

    Just my opinion of course. Thanks.

    Mel

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