19 July 2007
Guilty Verdict!!
Rest in peace, baby girl.

Jurors Find Raye Dawn Smith Guilty

Bristow - Jurors have found a Lincoln County woman guilty of child abuse in the death of her two-year-old daughter nearly two years ago.

The jury deliberated for just over two hours before returning the guilty verdict against Raye Dawn Smith, whose daughter, Kelsey Smith-Briggs, died in October 2005 from blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

Jurors recommended 27 years in prison for Smith, who denied the accusations. Her defense attorneys told jurors that Michael Porter, Smith's husband at the time, was responsible for the little girl's death. They said Porter sexually abused and killed the girl.

But, prosecutors alleged Smith either abused the girl, or allowed Porter to abuse her. Porter was sentenced earlier this year to 30 years in prison for enabling child abuse. He testified this week that he witnessed Smith abusing her daughter.

Kelsey's father, Lance Briggs, spoke with NewsChannel 8's Jerry Giordano shortly after the jury returned its verdict.

"I was shocked," Briggs told NewsChannel 8. "I wasn't so much shocked that they gave her the guilty verdict. I was shocked at the amount of years they gave her."

Briggs says he's satisfied with today's verdict. But, he says no matter what happens to Raye Dawn Smith, nothing will bring his daughter back.

Guardianship of Kelsey Smith-Briggs had been granted to her grandmother Kathie Briggs earlier in 2005 after the girl's stepmother discovered bruises and injuries on her back and rear. The child was taken to a doctor, who diagnosed the abuse and placed her in casts on both legs.

But, the toddler was returned to her mother just four months before her death after a judge ruled that the person who had abused her wasn't known. Kathie Briggs says despite today's verdict, she doesn't have closure.

"People always use that word 'closure'," she says. "The only way to me that you could have closure is if you wake up and realize this is a bad dream and Kelsey's sitting right beside you. I don't believe in closure."

"There's no such thing as fair," Lance Briggs added. "The important thing here is that the system worked and justice has been served and that's been our goal since day one."

Theres a little video here too http://www.ktul.com/news/stories/0707/440389.html

posted by -atomik kitten @ 10:53 AM  
  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger Rebecca said…

    This is good news! The system does work! Of course, like her Dad said, nothing will bring her back...

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