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Report: Police Tricked Susan Smith into Confessing

May 14, 1995

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ Police tricked Susan Smith into confessing that she drowned her two sons by telling her that officers on a drug stakeout didn’t see her at the spot where she claimed the boys had been kidnapped, The (Greenville) News reported, citing unidentified sources.

There was no stakeout at that spot 13 miles outside Carlisle, where Smith said a carjacker had sped off with 3-year-old Alex and 14-month-old Michael, The News reported Saturday.

The defense could try to get her confession thrown out of court because of such a deception, and could ask to ban testimony about police finding Smith’s car in a lake with the drowned boys still strapped inside, since her confession led investigators to the lake, legal experts said.

Prosecutors could argue the car would have been found eventually, since recent federal rulings allow evidence that would inevitably have been discovered to be admitted, said Jim Lowen, chairman of the death penalty committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Smith’s lawyer, David Bruck, wouldn’t discuss his strategy. He has said he may use an insanity-based defense.

Union County Sheriff Howard Wells did not immediately return a telephone message The Associated Press left at his home Saturday night. A dispatcher said he could not be reached through his office.

Smith, 23, first said the boys were kidnapped Oct. 25 at a red light in a deserted intersection near Union. She changed the location to near Carlisle after police told her the light only turned red when another car approached from another direction.

After she was told of the stakeout, Smith told Wells that she let the car roll into John D. Long Lake with the boys inside.

Trial is set for July 10, and the prosecution is asking for the death penalty.

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