American Justice

Season 13 Episode 25

The Susan Smith Story: A Mother's Confession

Aired Tuesday 7:00 PM Nov 10, 2004 on A&E

Episode Recap

The South Carolina town of Union had hardly ever seen any violence. That's why it was so shocking when Susan Smith told a terrifying story of abduction and possibly murder. Her two young sons, Smith said weepingly, had been kidnapped by a black man. She seemed a credible witness to the crime and was sufficiently emotional to arouse outrage among television viewers across the nation. They wanted the man responsible caught as quickly as possible. But, it turned out, Smith was the only one who knew where her children were, and that was at the bottom of John D. Long lake. The truth was not revealed until nine days into a thorough search and investigation. When Smith finally confessed, her defenders were shocked and the public was equally dismayed, especially the black community of Union. American Justice examines what would drive a mother to kill her children and the defense's theory that the incident was a failed suicide attempt.
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