Execution of child's rapist, killer draws jeers, cheers in Ohio prison
LUCASVILLE, Ohio — One family wept loudly and another family cheered on Wednesday as a man was executed for killing a 6-month-old as he raped her.
Steve Smith, 46, was executed by lethal injection in the state prison in Lucasville in southern Ohio for the 1998 killing of his live-in girlfriend's daughter, Autumn Carter, in Mansfield.
Smith had recently tried to get his sentence reduced to life in prison, arguing that he was too drunk to realize that his assault was killing Autumn and that he didn't mean to hurt her. The Ohio Parole Board and Gov. John Kasich turned him down unanimously.
In the 25 minutes between when Smith walked into the death chamber flanked by prison guards and when the lethal injection killed him, his only child, 21-year-old Brittney, and his niece sobbed and shook with grief.
Smith declined to say any last words, then looked at Brittney sitting behind a pane of glass.
“I love you,” Brittney said as she wept.
Smith turned his head away and appeared to be struggling not to cry, his chin shaking.
Less than 3 feet from Brittney and separated by a wall, Autumn's mother, Kesha Frye, watched Smith quietly. After he was dead, Frye's sister pumped her fists in the air.
“I'm glad he's dead, and I hope he burns in hell,” Frye said surrounded by her family after the execution.
Frye's father and Autumn's grandfather, Patrick Hicks, said Smith's execution was too good for him.
“Because of him, Autumn never had a chance to take her first step, she never had her first birthday or a first day of school,” he said. “It's just unfortunate that this man gets to die a peaceful death after the torture he put Autumn through.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Defense chief: U.S. expanding special operations force in Iraq
- Suspect in Colorado clinic attack Dear makes court appearance
- New York City’s salt warning rule to take effect at chain restaurants
- Atlantic Coast cities rise up against offshore drilling plans
- Ex-speaker, once a major powerbroker, convicted in N.Y.
- New Navy destroyer Zumwalt’s seaworthiness questioned before sea trials
- Opposition mounts to genetic modification of human embryos
- Police shooting of black teen cited in University of Chicago threat
- EPA increases ethanol in gasoline supply for 2016
- House majority leader predicts no government shutdown over Planned Parenthood
- House may move quickly to overhaul visa waiver program