Athens mom gets life sentence for murder of 4 year old

Stephanie Smith
Stephanie Smith(Limestone County Sheriff's Dept.)
Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 6:32 AM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - A woman from Athens has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to felony murder in the death of her 4 year old daughter in 2016.

Our news partners at the News Courier in Athens report that Stephanie Smith originally faced a potential death sentence after confessing that she suffocated the girl with a pillow.

Smith agreed to plead guilty to murder, rather than capital murder, and was sentenced to life on Monday. She will be eligible for parole, but there’s no timeline for when that might happen in her court documents.

The incident happened on July 4th, 2016. Police say Smith called them and said her daughter, Zadie Cooper, wasn’t breathing. The girl was taken to Athens-Limestone Hospital where she was pronounced brain dead, removed from life support and passed away. Smith originally told investigators she found the girl wedged between her bed and the wall. She was not arrested or charged at the time.

Nine months later, she walked into the Athens Police Department and confessed to smothering the girl. She said she’d been off her medication and blacked out. She’s been in the Limestone County jail, awaiting trial, since April of 2017.

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