Autumn Carter, a Mansfield, Ohio girl, was raped and killed in 1998. She was six-months old (that’s right).
Her convicted killer, Steven Smith, has a May 1 date with the executioner. Yesterday, he appeared before the Ohio Parole Board, where he pleaded for mercy.
Smith, 31 years old at the time he took baby Autumn’s life, has not repented his evil. He says his life should be spared because he really didn’t mean to kill the infant. He just wanted to have sex with her.
The convicted killer’s public defenders, Joseph Wilhelm and Tyson Fleming, had his back yesterday at his clemency hearing. They argued that, under Ohio law, a death sentence requires intent to kill the victim.
“The evidence suggests that Autumn’s death was a horrible accident,” Mssrs. Wilhelm and Fleming asserted. “Despite the shocking nature of this crime, Steve’s death sentence should be commuted because genuine doubts exist whether he even committed a capital offense.”
Accident? I don’t think so. Under Satanic influence? No doubt.
Baby Autumn was no random victim (not that it makes any difference). She was the daughter of Smith’s girlfriend (that’s right), Kesha Frye. When mom didn’t have sex with him on the night of his crime – probably because Smith was wasted on beer – he took revenge on her by sexually assaulting her baby girl.
At Smith’s trial, prosecutors presented evidence that his sexual assault lasted as long as 30 minutes.
“Expert” witnesses who testified in the killer’s defense suggested that Baby Autumn probably didn’t suffer the entire 30 minutes; that Smith accidentally suffocated the six-month old within three to five minutes while he lay on top of her.
“Steve is basically a decent person,” Wilhelm, his public defender, told the Ohio Parole Board yesterday. The convicted killer “got into trouble because of his alcohol dependence,” he added.
The Parole Board, which will issue its recommendation on Smith’s clemency petition to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has the final say on whether Smith dies or lives, wasn’t too sympathetic to the killer.
“Here’s what I take issue with,” said board member Kathleen Kovach, “People say Mr. Smith cared for Autumn and he took great care of her. No, he didn’t.”
As a Christ follower, I don’t believe anyone is beyond redemption. Not even someone, like Smith, who has committed a most unspeakable crime.
But there is no redemption, no salvation for unrepentant sinners, like Smith, the child molester, the baby killer.
He deserves what’s coming to him May 1.