The case of Susan Smith, the woman who killed her young sons in 1994, will be explored in the upcoming Lifetime docuseries Cellmate Secrets. The mom of two made headlines at the time of the news due to her shocking “motive” and she has since been “behaving herself” behind bars, which means she could soon be a free woman. Keep scrolling below to find out more about Susan Smith’s case, trial and to find out where she is today. 

What Happened to Her Sons?

Smith ended her young boys’ lives by letting her 1990 Mazda roll into a South Carolina lake with both 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander strapped into their car seats.  

On October 25, 1994, the Union native, who was 23 years old at the time, called the police and claimed an armed black man stole her car and drove off with her two sons inside. For nine days, she pleaded for the safe return of her “babies” while making appearances on television, only to have the true story later be revealed. 

Susan Smith Trial
Lou Krasky/AP/Shutterstock

Why Did She Do It?

Many people believe her motive was because she was dating a man who didn’t want children at the time. Smith was separated from her now-ex-husband, and started dating Tom Findlay, whose father owned the mill she worked at. Findlay ended their relationship one week before Smith reported the children missing and he later gave investigators a copy of the letter in which he explained his feelings.

This development led to Smith’s arrest and confession that she was behind her children’s tragic deaths. “I was not ready to assume the important responsibilities of being a father,” Findlay wrote in a statement issued through his lawyers. He also reiterated that at no point, he suggested “that her children were the only obstacle in any potential relationship with her.”

Does Susan Regret It?

“Something went very wrong that night. I was not myself,” she wrote in a letter to The State in 2015. “I was a good mother, and I loved my boys. There was no motive as it was not even a planned event. I was not in my right mind.”

Susan Smith Today
Lou Krasky/AP/Shutterstock

When Is She Eligible for Parole?

In July 1995, Smith was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years, which is around the corner in November 2024. She’ll have to keep “behaving herself” like she has been as of late, an insider told People in November 2020.

In the past nine years, Smith has been disciplined at least five times, including self-mutilation and the use and possession of narcotics or marijuana. 

Smith was also disciplined in 2000 for having sex four times with prison guard Houston Cagle, who later pleaded guilty and spent three months behind bars for the crime. The following year, prison captain Alfred Rowe also pleaded guilty to having sex with Smith and was sentenced to five years’ probation.

Smith and her husband, David Smith, filed for divorce in September 1994 and it was finalized in May 1995. She is currently based at the Leath Correctional Institution near Greenwood, South Carolina.

Cellmate Secrets premieres Friday, June 4, at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.

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