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Sandy Gerberick murder 1/1/1963 Phoenix, AZ *Betty Smithey convicted of her murder, sentenced to life in prison; Released today after 49 years in prison*

Betty Smithey, 69, was the nation’s longest serving female inmate until she was released and granted clemency today. In 1963 she strangled 14-month-old Sandy Gerberick to death. Previously, she kidnapped toddler Mitchell Johnson in 1959. She also escaped from prison 4 times. However, in 1983, Sandy Gerberick’s mother, Emma Simmons sent her a letter forgiving her for killing her child. That must have been such a hard letter to write, but also must have been good for both of them. But, has justice been served in this case?

The letter from Emma to Betty, that changed her life:

“Dear Betty,

“It has been almost twenty-one years since my baby daughter died. I have thought of you often in these years. Not with hate, as you may think, but with sadness, for I forgave you many years ago. Since I have come to know the Lord I felt I should write and tell you that I forgive you. … I’m sending you this Bible in the hope that it will bring you peace and hope. … May the Lord bless you and give you peace and the strength to know that Jesus loves you very much and is always there when you need Him.

“Erma (Gerberick) Simmons”

Orphan Girl Arrested; Kidnapped Baby Safe
Baby Sitter Not Clear Why She Turned Kidnapper
Arizona woman who killed baby in 1963 likely to get parole (great article)
Arizona woman convicted in 1963 child killing released from prison
America’s Longest Serving Female Inmate Walks Free After 49 Years Behind Bars
Longest-serving female inmate wins parole
Murderpedia: Betty C. Smithey

INMATE INFORMATION (has not been updated yet)

Last Name: SMITHEY
First Name: BETTY
Middle InitiaL C
Birth Date: 10/16/1942
Gender: FEMALE
Height (inches): 64
Weight: 187
Hair Color: GRAY
Eye Color: BROWN
Ethnic Origin: CAUCASION
Custody Class: 3/3
Inmate / Detainee: INMATE
Sentence: LIFE
Admission: 07/30/1963
Max End Date: LIFE
Release Type: ABS. DISCHARGE
Most Recent Loc.: ASPC Perryville
Unit: ASPC Perryville L-3 Lumley
Community Supervision/Parole: N
LAst Movement: 10/08/2010

Before commenting, you may want to read my comment policy. I will not approve comments that violate it, no matter how relevant your comment may be. The big thing: do not type in ALL CAPS. I won’t read it, just trash it. Please have respect for me and the other readers. There is no reason for yelling here.


230 Responses

  1. Not sure if she deserved Freedom.

    • she does not deserve freedom.. the little baby girl she killed never lived life, .. its sad how the justice system works, so unfair.. this woman should not go free..

  2. Sorry, there is no freaking way I would let this monster out of prison! They can say she is no danger to society but as long as she is still breathing she is still a THREAT! People protect your children & whatever you do, don’t let her freaking babysit your children!

    • agreed. I’m very upset that she was released after strangling a child and kidnapping another. She should have been given the death penalty.

    • The woman served 49 years. 49 years. She’s been punished long enough.

      • Kelly,

        Question for you. You say 49 years is long enough. Do you believe Charles Manson and his followers have been punished enough? Patricia Krenwinkle is the longest serving female inmate in CA. I would assume Leslie Van Houten is next. Should they be released? They have been locked up for decades as well.

        • You can never be punished enough for taking the life of a child. She should have gotten the death penalty or at least die in prison.

      • If little Sandy Gerberick were your baby, would 49 years be long enough?
        What about Sandy? She would have loved to live 49+ years! Wouldn’t you THINK?????

    • I agree!!

  3. Emma must of given it her all to forgive that woman

  4. No, I don’t believe she deserved to get out, even if she is sick. I am a Christian, too, and do not believe in capitol punishment, but I do believe in a life for a life and in such cases, that means you spend the rest of your natural life imprisoned. She will be of not benefit to society.

    • Totally with you….there is a reason for prison…I too am a Christian however; she kidnapped, killed, and then tried to escape. I think she has some serious mental health issues… and unless her issues are a personality disorder….which might change with age….she is not well. Why would anyone think a 70 year old cannot hurt a child? CHILDREN ARE POWERLESS!!!!!!!!!! Especially if they are under the age of 5!

      • i agree the issue at hand is that she pray on innocent childern that cannot defend or talk as she did before whats to say she wont do it again even if she is 90 she can still over power a child. I would hate to see or hear of another innocent victim especially when it could of been avoided. I hope the judge doesnt have to have something like that on there consiuos for making poor jusgement and decision

    • Just because you “claim” to be a Christian, it doesn’t make either of you one, your more self-righteous from what I see in your comments. In Jesus’s day, you two would have been right along side those stoning the prostitute….she deserved it…right? She broke the law, after all. But Jesus stopped that, he forgave and set her free to “sin no more.” Real Christians are like Jesus.

      • Well said.

      • Dear Elizabeth…Oh well, If we are like Jesus then no one should be punished for their crimes. There should be no jails at all. All wrong-doers should be forgiven. Your comments make no sense to me. She broke the law, she took a life. She murdered an innocent child. Religion should not even enter the picture. That innocent child she killed will never be released from prison. And if they claim she is mentally ill, then she has the potential to always be a danger to society.

    • This woman is a psychopath and there is no cure for this mental case. She should have been sent to a psychiatric ward. She’s still dangerous. She’s a monster from Satan the Devil.

    • Isn’t that a NWO call? I think they say useless eaters. Christians would all be in Hell if not for the Mercy of Yahushah

  5. Why????? She murdered someones child for christ sake, she should not of been released.

  6. First she kidnapped a toddler then killed that poor child and she escaped from prison 4 times…..nope she should never be free how many chances do you get

  7. Have we forgotten that God has a reason for everything? It is all part of His plan. May God bless her and you all!

    • Exactly how I feel. Thanks for this comment

    • True…if God is in control, which I believe He is, then He has a plan. His plans are not ours.

      • was it in gods plan to allow this woman to kill this baby girl…i was brought up in a christian home but…i am so sick of hearing how everything is part of gods plan when there is so many terrible things that happen in this world like the colorado shooting and many more. If all this is part of gods plan whats next….wipe out the human race?

        • No. Just the prisons! We waste so much money on those monsters!!!

        • So was the Manson murders part of Gods plan? I don’t think so. God gives us freedom of choice, to do right or wrong. In this woman’s case she did wrong. Killing a baby was not part of Gods plan,

    • assuming, of course, there really is a god………

    • Cassie, I agree and will add that keeping someone in prison forever just to satisfy hate makes no sense. I’m glad she can be free. I’d love to see more unending sentences, other countries do not torture their prisoners for ever. Nor grind away at their minds in isolation… Well I got carried away… there’s no commercial just me get fired up.
      Great positive proactive comment

    • This has nothing to do with your God. This has only to do with Money. This old lady is about to run up some serious medical bills that comes with age. She has already has cancer of her breasts, and has surgery on her female parts. She now has a problem with her bowls wanting to drop out. There is nothing in there to hold them in anymore. She is mentally unstable too.

  8. i don’t believe that old monster should be released. why would you strangle a baby? or anyone for that matter

  9. I wouldn’t want her for my neighbor.. I feel she should have to serve her full sentence out in prison.

  10. If she were Mexican any chance jan brewer would have let her walk?

  11. I KNOW I am going to get bashed but I believe in everyone deserves a second chance. GOD is the true judge and when her time comes she will have to answer to him. Yes killing a toddler was in no shape or form correct but the family forgave her. Remember she has to live with this on her conscience FOREVER. BTW what was her reasoning behind the killing? I have a family member in prison and it is hard on BOTH sides of the scale. God bless

    • Hi Amanda, I am so glad you are not hateful or judgemental. You demonstrated a wonderful Christlike attitude in your comments, and are a good example for all of us. Suzie

    • I’m sorry Amanda, but “reasoning behind the killing” ?!?!… is there any “reasoning” for murdering anyone? Much less a child?!?! I too am a Christian and agree God will be the one to judge her. But I find MUCH troubled feeling behind that part of your comment.

      • Steffanie, I agree with Amanda. I am also a Christian and I believe that in everyone’s own mind they have a reason for their actions whether bad or good actions. It is only when we know why, that we can begin to understand enough to begin healing those like Betty.

    • Amanda – are you insane? Could there be any good reason for murdering a baby? A 14 month old baby? She was crazy, as are you for questioning there might be a logical explanation for murdering a baby.

      • I don”t think she was minimizing the childs death….it was just a question to the nature of what happened.

    • Sorry Amanda,
      not going to bash you but seems like she had several chances. a kidnapping, murder, 4 prison escapes…honestly, you might as well move to have charles manson out. i guess christians like yourself believe he deserves one as well…the national debt would undoubtedly go down if they just put them to death. may her illness tear down her body and cause unbearable pain fpr the remainder of her miserable excuse of a pitiful and pathetic excistence in this and the next lifetime.

      • I was JUST going to reply with that! Hell Manson is 77! Might as well let him out as well, right!

      • Now that’s what I’m talkin about!!
        We would be somewhat debt free if we just did away with all of the wacko’s in prison. No rebillitation is even remotely possible!!!

    • We are all so quick to judge based on a few words of headlines or a 30 second news cast. I suppose we do it because it makes us feel more superior for a few minutes. This story has many victims including Betty. Sentencing laws in this country are extreme in some cases compared to every developed nation in the world yet we still have the highest crime rate. Our current laws allow for clemency and parole without the governor’s intervention and had Betty committed this crime 20 years later the clemency board would have granted her release and it likely would not have made the headlines. Why are Betty and other inmates in their 70’s and 80’s who have served decades behind bars to be treated differently because of “old code” rules?
      The heart of this matter lies in the fact that the victim’s mother forgave Betty. It lies in the fact that when she did it changed Betty. Arizona more than any other state with perhaps the exception of Louisiana does not take prisoner release lightly. Betty’s release was recommended by the prison officials who see her daily and have for many years. Betty’s release was granted by the governor who had to make a very difficult decision and will be held accountable. While we would not hire Betty to babysit we ought not continue to judge her but lift her up in prayer and acknowledge as she did that while she can not change the heinous act of nearly 50 years ago she has committed herself to change how she lives her life. Locking up people and throwing away the key, tossing them into a cell and judging them as never having a chance to reform, repent and rehabilitate is a cruel act. If the self professed Christians who responded in judgement that what has occurred here is unacceptable I suggest they dig a little deeper in their Bible’s and they will find that Betty has already been forgiven by their savior. They may also run across the part that says they should not judge. Let’s review – Betty was forgiven by the baby’s mother, she was forgiven by Jesus Christ she was recommended for release by the people who have been around her everyday. The governor did her job, Who are any of us to condemn and be so quick to judge?

      • to aldente125 – I am impressed by your well thought out response. And you know your bible. I often wonder at the seemingly vengeful, sometimes angry and usually quite judgmental responses from (to quote you) “self professed Christians” – I figure they must be adherents to the Old Testament because there lacks the forgiveness and love we are bidden to live by in the New. Ah well, we all know how it is difficult at best to preach to the preachers.

      • “Locking up people and throwing away the key, tossing them into a cell and judging them as never having a chance to reform, repent and rehabilitate is a cruel act. ” Are you kidding me?? Really? Not one thing in you comment is logical. You want to know what cruel is? “In 1963 she strangled 14-month-old Sandy Gerberick to death.” – That sir or madam is a cruel act! Frankly I do not care who forgave her. The mother most likely forgave he for her own sanity and I have yet to ready where she has been saved.

        • Joe the US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated. 29% of the 2.2 million are in for violent crime. At $31 k per year each we do very little to rehabilitate and reform them. I have been involved in prison ministry for many years and I have seen a “few” of these violent criminals change. So much so they are better citizens than many of our politicians and business executives. Betty’s acts were cruel, wrong and severe. She deserved to be sent to prison. She went. She stayed for almost 50 years, the governor released her. My point however illogical are the sentencing laws that don’t change for older inmates despite being changed for others. Why are laws different for the same crime? That’s what is illogical. You wont have to dig too deep to read her own childhood background or her being “saved”. My comments about locking people up and throwing away the key without being given a chance for reform are substantiated by the Justice Department and the Pew study on states that show more than 70% of our population feel that anyone in prison should be kept there regardless of crime or punishment.

      • You stated the facts nicely, those who read the bible should know the Lord has forgived her. I haven’t read a bible in years but I do know that our Savior was on the cross for people like Betty.

      • you say when the victim’s mother forgave betty, it changed her…
        and how is it, exactly, that YOU know this?
        it seems, therefore, it’s okay if you judge her, and you have pronounced her safe and sane in all your profound wisdom……..

        • I never made a claim that I knew anything I simply read the 6 stories that covered this on different media including betty’s background. The rightful ‘judge ” in this case was the governor. It was her position that supported the changes.

      • ……i might also add……. first……….you have no proof there is a jesus christ, much less he has the power to forgive anyone, or more to the point–if in fact he has forgiven her—or anyone else

        • Carl my reference to Christ was made specifically for those who chose to profess first that they are Christian. That being the case for them it’s not my place to prove what they believe. I was simply stating that their claim was contradictory with their judgement of this woman.

      • Sooooo, let all prisoners out….as long as they say they have “repented.” Let all the mass-murderers out, let Charlie Manson out too…..they are sorry for what they did. In fact, there should be no jails at all…..because they are all innocent and they are all ” sorry.” Your logic is illogical.

    • It is safer for children for her to be in prison, it has nothing to do with punishment or judging

    • Her “reasoning behind the killing”?? Perhaps it was self defense. smh

    • I also believe that everyone deserves a second chance…. however this monster kidnapped another child before murdering this one, and then proceeded to attempt to escape from prison four times. By my count she has had way too many second chances. So exactly how many more do you think she should get? I would think it highly doubtful and suspect that she is remorseful about any of her crimes. Once again I am thankful that my home is in Michigan not in Arizona.

    • Amanda this lady kiddnapped a child then kills another- then tried to break out of prison 4 times… how many second chances does one person get? I know your a woman of GOD and thats great -but I feel if this woman killed your child, you wouldnt be this forgiving.

    • Amanda, I agree with you. God is the only one that has the right to judge, HE will handle her in the end.

  12. Should NOT have been released…forgiveness can be given to her, but for a crime of that expense she should rot in prison until her death

    • I believe you were the only post I have seen thus far that speaks of if she desevers forgiveness or not. I agree that forgiveness can be extended. I do not, however believe that this woman should be released either. If she would have still been in prison for the 1st kidnapping would baby Sandy still be with us?

      • I wonder if the next mom will forgive her. I certainly hope that won’t be one of you “forgiving” christians who know nothing about “without conscience”! She doesn’t live with this on her conscience. Common misconception of conscience. Gotta have one in the first place. She’s laughing and loving you all for your forgiving ways that let her out of prison since she failed at her escape attempts. You were all she had to bank on…….. FOOLS every one of you.

  13. Everyone deserves a second chance. We are all human, imperfect beings, capable of mistakes and much worse. It is not our place to judge her for what she did, that’s what the justice system is for. If a child kills a cat, u don’t lock that child up forever with the belief that there is no possibility of reform. In a situation like that, there is obviously something very wrong, as with Betty Smithey (something was obviously very wrong) but that doesn’t mean she can’t or didn’t change. Forgiveness can change things. Maybe being forgiven by the child’s mother was exactly what she needed to be better…or to at least try to be better. That’s all we can ask of anyone. Furthermore, many of you have fabricated the truth a few times in your life, so should you be branded for life as a pathological liar? Or maybe just a big liar? Crime is crime. Justice is justice. Right is right and wrong is wrong. It is only right to free her if she has been reformed or has been exhibiting changed behavior/thinking for an extended period of time. You people are cold, closed minded, and blood thirsty. I’m praying for you all.

    • Please remember you are placing judgement when you say we are cold, closed minded, and blood thirsty. In this case we have a woman in her 70’s convicted of murder of an innocent child, who tried to kidnap another child, and who tried on many instances to escape prison. Those are some serious crimes….do you think maybe prison is a structured environment? That maybe she just conformed to the system? That possibly she does have a mental illiness? That maybe it was not recognized and not treated? If she does have a mental illiness that is not a go to kill! Yes the mother of the child forgave her and your right that is the Christian thing to do……however there are many individuals that murder and yes they find religion in prison…should they be released? There is a huge difference between fabricating the truth and killing a child! HUGE! I work with individuals who are mentally ill – they need medication, they need a support system, and if they committ a crime they need to do the time.

      • Kelly,

        Not trying to be picky, but Betty kidnapped Mitchell Johnson before killing Sandy (I think it was about 3 years or so before). Betty will be 70 in October, although I have to admit that she looks older.

      • Kelly, she did do the time. Like it or not, she’s out now. If she weren’t meant to be released, she wouldn’t be. Since no one knows but she and God whether she has changed, the best we can do is pray that if she is still mentally ill, that she does receive proper treatment. I hope the people you work with that are mentally ill receive more help from you than judgement especially if they have committed crimes.

    • How can you liken killing a child to killing a cat?

    • She had a second chance. The first chance was when she kidnapped Mitchell Johnson in 1959 and her second chance was strangled 14-month-old Sandy Gerberick…..

    • Maybe you are just nieve

    • First of if my kid kills a cat, to the shrink we go! And I have to say that everyone deserves a second chance, but not a third. Betty had her second chance when they did not punish her hard enough for kidnapping a child. She had no business on the streets after kidnapping Mitchell.

    • Holiday,
      You stated: “It is not our place to judge her for what she did, that’s what the justice system is for.”
      The justice system judged her guilty. Furthermore, as punishment for her crime and guilt sentenced her to life without parole: not 49 years served. Forgiveness from the mother is a good example of the human spirit, yet doesn’t dilute or dissolve the crime and deserved punishment. Betty “changing” following the mother’s forgiveness and after reflecting during her time in prison is fodder and does not warrant clemency. If she truely did change, that’s great. Then she should become a “model prisoner” and work to help other inmates who are not serving life sentences.
      Also of note, mental illness should not be part of the debate. The jurors found her “guilty”. They did not deem her “guilty by reason of insanity or “not guilty by reason of insanity”, therefore, her mental illness is irrelevant to this case.
      My theory is Jan Brewer wanted to save the thousands of dollars it costs to house this aging inmate. Good luck to Betty in supporting herself. Oh wait, guess Arizona’s tax payer will now be supporting her in a different form. Let’s hope for the sake of AZ residents and families this new civilian is reformed.

  14. She doesn’t deserve the freedom, but she is now old, sick, she can’t to anything bad. It’s better to let her room to a crazy person still ouside

  15. We are no one to judge, but God. We ask God, what is this world coming too? life is scary so many crimes, violence, hate, we live in hell. This woman should not be let out of prison no one in their right state of mind would do this. How can this individual walk out like if nothing she took a life? This means because she or anyone were abuse they have a right to take a life. We make our choices in life. People commit murder and are set free, that’s why it’s become a natural thing to kill and it’s ok to plea insanity. No respect for the parents of this baby. This Country needs to do some changes with the laws.

  16. I am a christian and sincerely believe that we should forgive those that sin against us or those that we love…..that being said…….I could not have forgiven her for murdering my child. That would be the one sin I simply could not forgive, my kids are my world and they come first….before everything and I mean everything. If it had been my child she would just have to consider herself lucky to still be alive, because I would have killed her before the courts had the opportunity to sentence her. I guess that doesn’t make me a very good christian, but at least I’m an honest one.

    • (personal comment: @not2opinionated: I think you are human and that’s pretty alright, by my standards. 🙂 )

      It’s not always our place to forgive. In the case of Betty Smithey, did she actually ask to be forgiven by the mother of the child she murdered? It seems odd that someone would dole out forgiveness to someone who is not seeking to be forgiven. I have been trying to find more detailed articles on this case to better understand the details behind Betty Smitheys’ state of mind at the time of the kidnapping and murder, versus now. What, if anything, has changed in the mind of this woman? I’ve not read one thing about her that elude’s to any type of “real” mental maturation, personal growth, mental illness diagnosis and treatment, etc, during her incarceration period.

      On what basis was she granted clemency outside of the fact that she’s old?

  17. I have to right to judge that is GOD<S job. Children are innocent, do we know the whole story no. First off if she had been introuble before for kidnapping a child I as a parent would not leave her alone to babysatt my child because she had some mentall illiness that back then went untreated. Do we know if she had a child then lost it is that why she kidnapped a child then when she watch this child did she just flipp out because of the crying? In my opionion I know that as i mother when my 3 rd child was born I was so upset and emotional unstable, i was afraid to be left alone with my children because i was afraid i might snap. I would never hurt a child, i got on medication. All i am saying we dont know the whole story so unless your god or the child parents, we should not care how much time she done or be judgemental. I was raped by a jailer when i filed charges they never arrested him but 2 months later i was arrasted then senteced for a crime that does not exist. Justice is blind is all i am saying. I am not upset at the guy who raped me. I forgave him.

    • Personally, I would’t judge Betty Smithey one way or the other until I have all the facts, which by the way, I’ve not been able to locate enough facts surrounding her background, the kidnapping’s, murder, anything. Sometimes the article’s posted on news website’s really leave a lot of note worthy details out, leaving the reader’s completely in the dark about the value of the article to begin with, as is the case with the value of “news worthiness” Betty Smithey’s release.

      What was the article intended to say to the readers? Were we to be interested based on her age? Her record setting career stay in prison as a woman? What was the intention of the article, really?

      I would hope no one would judge this woman on any level given the current information provided, as there are clearly not enough facts released for allowing any of us to fully understand why this woman was released or how she “became cured/reformed”, whatever, during her incarceration period. And, let’s be real. “Back in the day”, the judicial system was not so hot, as was any real attention regarding mental health issues, or any issue’s which surrounded women’s health overall. If Betty was suffering from a severe mental illness back in the day, what was it? There is nothing out there for us to determine. Maybe she really was just a screwed up person who became a cold blooded killer. Just maybe, as she was targeting children, she was a serial killer. No one wanted to believe such things were possible in a woman, back in the day. Right?

  18. This lady, though old and no longer a threat, still deserves to die in prison. She made her choice to destroy another life and should be held accountable no matter what! No mercy.

  19. Sandy was my cousin. No one can understand the consequences of Betty’s actions. She did not kidnap my cousin but she was a live in babysitter and there was 3 other children in the home, ages 7, 5, and 3. Two of those three people took their own lives. My aunt Erma suffered for many years. The fact that she had a child lost to murder, a son suicide and a daughter suicide yet was able to forgive Betty is beyond human comprehension. As a believer I believe in God’s sovereignty. It was only from God that my aunt could have forgiven this women. It is obvious that her letter to Betty helped change Betty’s life. I am not sure how I feel about her getting out of prison as my feelings are mixed, but I trust in who God is and therefore trust that “God causes all things to work together for the good…” Rom 8:28

    • Susan,

      The kidnapping was of Mitchell Johnson.

      • My aunt was not aware of this prior to hiring Betty. I forgot to say that my aunt passed away over 10 years ago from cancer.

        • Susan, I am sorry to hear about your Aunt Betty. I know she is at peace.

          Not only did her forgiveness affect a woman, and lead to a positive change in her, but as well it has affected me to be a better person and more forgiving.

          God bless your family, and her only surviving child. I know that on the cross, Jesus offered eternal life to the thief on his one side, and the murderer on his other. They only had to believe.

          • oh im sure the baby whos missed out on alot of lovely things in life feels the same. we’re not jesus

    • Sandy, where did you find articles regarding the “obviousness in the letter to Betty having changed her life”?
      Please provide a link or reference, as I’ve been trying to locate just such information regarding how Betty was “changed” for the better.


    • the bible says if u kill,especially a 15 month old, you will be killed. neways the child never saw “light” again why should she, because she stayed away unvoluntarily from hurting some1 again. looked over , babysitted by authority, surprised nobody strangled her while under care 2. oh its so hard having 3 meals promised and a roof. poor child is supposedly in a better place after so little breath i life. this is a bad joke. justice??? live by the sword die by the sword. I have to tend 2 my 2 month old. After all ive been thru that waste of breath deserves death for what she did or at the very least life in prison.

    • Amen Susan. Very well said. I am praying for you and your family.

    • Susan,
      I’m so sorry for the pain this woman has caused your family.

    • Sorry but this is typical sociopathic wreckage and carniage which you are describing. It is currently UNABLE to be cured. Sometimes called EVIL. The losses your family sustained truley breaks my heart. My life has been repeatedly affected by a sociopath who carries a bible and banks on everyones forgiveness. There are many suicides and deaths in his wake. See some of these blogs. His mother makes me very angry as she enables him to continue. DENIAL is dangerous.
      I hope this calculated known criminal doesn’t have a plan your mind can’t comprehend! If she does, I hope your GOD gives the next victim and their family the strength to forgive this monster yet again. THOU SHALT NOT KILL? Whatever.

  20. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I read the facts of the case. Having the mother of the victim forgive her is not an absolution of the crime. She was hired to be a live in babysitter, only 1 week before the childs death. the coroner’s cause of death for baby Sandy was strangulation. Baby Sandy’s 6 year old brother found her dead. That is a horrible thing. Smithey had run from the law towards Mexico before she was arrested. Smithey has escaped from prison 4 times. Each escape would add more time to her life sentence.

    For the mother of this precious child to forgive is one of the things she learned from the Bible. To forgive 70 x7, or an infinate amount of times. As Christians we do that so that we will be forgiven. Erma was a Christian woman and understood this, and that led her to the forgivness and to witness to this very wayward individual. We will never truly know if Smithey is remorseful, accepting of God, or has forgiven herself.

    I do question if her consequences for the murder and escapse have been changed from what the jury decided when she was 20.
    Proverbs 19:19
    A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
    I do hope that she is as she proclaims, a rehabilitated, Christian who has asked for forgivness.

  21. If the child’s miter can forgive her so can I. God has forgiven her as well so who are we to cast any judgement on any person in life.

  22. I have mad respect for Emma for forgiving her. I never would have if that had been my daughter. I know a lot of people are saying we are not to judge and all that and maybe she had a reason, but I’m atheist so I see it a bit differently. For one, there is absolutely no reason to strangle a baby or any child for that matter. I have a two year old and I know whats it like to feel so frustrated you cant handle it, but thats when you walk away for a few minutes. I don’t believe she should have been released. I could understand this had she shaken the baby in frustration and didn’t mean to kill the child, but it seems to be intentional especiallu with the fact she kidnapped a toddler at 16 and escaped 4 times. Even at 69 years old I believe she poses a threat to small children.

    • Agree with everything you said.

    • I agree with you as well, Sam. I’m not finding any supporting documentation regarding this woman’s “not posing a threat” state of mind. If she’s a serial killer, she will be compelled to kill again. Grandma’s make great predator’s as every child in the world will trust a “grandmother” type of stranger.

    • Yes she poses a threat to small children, heck she looks like there grandma!

  23. I will admit that I haven’t read all the comments. I am a die-harder with regard to the lack of discipline given to teens, young adults and anyone of age who have broken the law, in ANY way. If the standards from back then applied today, we would have so much less violence. It’s sickening. However, this woman was very young back then and has caused no harm in all these decades (other than trying to escape. Who didn’t back then????). Unless they are going to show us proof of violence in prison in almost 50 yrs, you have to assume she had some issues and they have hopefully been worked through. If someone kills a baby today, WE are lucky if they get 10 years. I am a mother and a daughter of a police officer. I have very little tolerance, but, as far as what has been reported (there may be more that I don’t know and I apologize if that is the case), she is not a danger to society. I hope I am right. I am sorry if I am misinformed by our news reporters.

    • I am not sure if the standards of the law back then affects the level of violence in our society. Violence has always been constant since the beginning of time, it is part us being human. However, we have the ability to evolve or seek help if we go against the norm. This woman never did. Sandy’s mother forgave her for her crime, but just like some of the comments made it was her Christian faith that lead her to do so so she may carry on in the afterlife; not a ticket to free her daughter’s murderer from prison! Betty still violated our laws and she killed an innocent child purposefully. No one is afraid of consequences or have remorse anymore and that is the part that scares me the most! This woman got caught, was convicted of a heinous crime against society and should not have been released.

      • Does the mother who forgave this woman state in her letter, I pray you are released to roam free amongst other children? Or just that she forgave this woman? This is something we do for ourselves to bring peace back into our lives. That doesn’t necessarily mean and “so your punishment be fulfilled”. Jeez when are we going to accept some people are lacking a conscience? Does Jan Brewer get to finish off this womans sentence if she commits another crime? Might have been a different outcome if so………

        • How do you know Betty “lacks a conscience? How do you know she wasn’t under the influence of a psychotic delusion and that she didn’t consciously know what she was doing? How do you know she wasn’t treated, doesn’t now understand what she did, and doesn’t feel great emotional pain for what she did?

          • I don’t know she has no conscience but on the same note you don’t know she does. I don’t want to argue with you. We are on the same side possibly of many issues but due to my personal experience and due to your personal experience on this subject we may have to agree to disagree.
            I hear you and understand where you are coming from but you cannot know as I cannot know.

  24. She would of been a prime candidate for a public execution if I was the Governor. People like this should be made into an example on what happens if you harm an infant or rape someone. A single rope would of cost ten bucks maybe at the most, and would saved no telling how many in tax dollars. Also it would make for a good lesson to others that have ideas like this. Take them all out of the Gene pool, don’t let them reproduce and don’t let them enjoy a single second they have left on this world. Public chastisement and public executions worked and was how this country was started. Why should we show them any compassion or sympathy they asked for it and I’m sure the old hag did not look at that baby and say I’m sorry while she was strangling her. I say the old hag is a piece of sh*t that should have been killed 50 years ago.

  25. I was searching for the 1963 story behind the murder and came across this blog. I keep seeing the words “Christian” but I have only seen one or two truly Christian-like comments. It’s sad that we live in a world that chooses to condemn and pass judgement, facts present or not does not matter. The mother of the child has forgiven this woman for what she did, why is it so hard for others to follow suite and do the same? Until you walk in someone else’s shoes, you have no right to judge or condemn them.

    • wow really? it is really funny how you say we shouldn’t pass judgement on the mother forgiving her for MURDERING her 15 month old daughter. Think about this one: How “FAIR” do YOU think it is that Sandy, the baby girl that suffered and DIED,…..could NEVER, have the opportunity TO MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS AS TO EVER FORGIVE this DERANGED MURDERER, because SHE DIED FOR IT.

    • Here is another note for everyone to think about as I have not done any research on this. But “DO YOU THINK” that not only did she first kidnap a boy, murdered baby Sandy. Now, think about this. Erma had more children in the home, in which her son and another daughter committed suicide. Does anyone here believe that they may have done that because their baby sister was murdered? Because if so, Miss “FREE to the world again” Betty, should have been sentenced for their deaths also!!!!!

    • Okay, okay.. just, wait. I need clarity on, well, everything you just said.
      So, according to your Cirque du Soleil style of logic, I cannot say killing is bad until I kill.
      And facts don’t matter. Right. (note to self: ignore the murder, kidnapping, and escape from prison a whopping 4 times).

      I’m confused.. Are you upset because people aren’t posting to your standard of “Christian”, or you don’t think people should judge other people? Seems like an awfully wide double standard there, sister.

      Fact of the matter is, today we should remember a child that lost her life, and her family that is in mourning and is now forced to re-live it all over again after this (yeah, i’m going to judge here..) horrible person was released from prison.
      Unfortunately for the family, they don’t get a parole on this. They NEVER get to see their loved one again.
      Erma has all of my respect for being able to forgive this woman, truly.
      This family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Kim, if every criminal who was forgiven by his/her victim was released from prison, we would have a very dangerous world. Many times victims will forgive so that they can get on with their lives. This does not automatically mean every person who commits heinous crimes should be set free in such circumstances. That is not the message God, Jesus, or the bible delivers; although seems like some people sure know how to twist the meaning. There are many things to consider when making such a decision to release a criminal. To that end, there is probably way more to this case then we know from having read what little was released in the media. I just hope Jan Brewer and the parole board had all the facts to consider prior to making their decision.

    • One more thing, Kim. Would you have someone like this come live with you if she were to be released from prison? Think about that for a while. This woman had to have someone take her in. Would you be comfortable if that person were your brother or sister? Would you, perhaps, think twice about her release if that were the case?

  26. Those of you who think she should be allowed to live a free life are deranged. I don’t care who forgave her or why, and I CERTAINLY don’t care WHY she killed the baby. She is sick, dont care if that’s her fault or not either. You bible thumping people are blind. Not everyone is good and holy. There isn’t a plan or reason for anything. There is never a reason for a 15 month old to be strangled. I’m sure those of you saying she should be forgiven don’t have children.

  27. I went looking for more information on this woman because of the article on ABC, found this, and I’m disturbed. She kidnapped a child, killed another, and how on earth does someone escape prison FOUR times? Once is skill, twice is suspicious, four times is just ineptitude. I can’t even count that against her at that point she was just walking out. At her age and as sick as she is, I doubt she’s a threat. And the purpose of prison isn’t “punishment” (that view is how the USA has such a huge rate of multiple-time offenses versus places that don’t view prison as a “punishment” but as “rehabilitation”) the purpose of prison is to protect society from a violent criminal and to try to make a criminal into someone productive. I highly doubt she is a threat to anyone at this point so keeping her in prison is a drain on society and serves no purpose. I don’t have a problem with her release, although I would prefer if she were under house arrest instead of on parole.

    • Is Betty Smithey’d drain on society’s coffers going to change….she’s going from prison to Social Security. She hasn’t contributed anything because she’s been in prison. I think the comments that preface their opinions with “I’m a Christian” are people who know that it is God’s place to judge – not ours, but they are scared. Stories like this one scares me… does the prospect of having any of the Manson Family murderers set free, for instance.

  28. I am humbled in my faith after reading this story. I never heard of Betty Smithey until opening the article on Yahoo this evening. I felt acidic when I read she was imprisoned for the strangulation and murder of a 15 month old child. That 90 second surge of anger melted away as I read on about Erma Simmons’ letter to her child’s murderer.

    I am a mother and grandmother. I have asked God, recently, about what we must forgive, and if He delivers souls from certain sin.

    It is an awesome God, whose love is an action, and who plays no favorites with His grace. He is sovereign and just. That was His son crucified in our sin who asked from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That was God, in the flesh, in the midst of His humanity created with a free will, showing us how to choose His will, not ours.

    I know the Lord tells us to forgive as we are forgiven and until we do, we can’t possibly understand the meaning of forgiveness.

    I have my answer here, by God’s glory and power in Christ Jesus.

    God bless you, Erma Simmons and thank you for how your life speaks of what Christ did in you.

    Thank you Lord.

  29. We need to change our laws! PERIOD! If a person kills another human being, the killer should also die. People! We are providing killers a perfect home! They get a roof, food, clothing get to exercise, read, watch t.v, get there degree! Just what are we doing! If I were in politics I would create one prison in the desert where prisoners are working in a factory everyday of there lives. No t.v. no three meals etc! Now this woman is probably going to be given social security now that she has been released. How has she paid society? She probably played cards in prison! It probably cost this government over 1 million dollars to keep this woman all of these years so you tell me how have we progressed! I for one am tired of housing these killers! After they have been found guilty kill them. That it! Our laws need to be changed.

    • well said

    • AMEN! Once a killer ALWAYS a killer. this lady watched an infant die in her hands- thats CRAZY!!!!! she should have been executed years ago.

    • “If a person kills another human being, the killer should also die.”

      No matter how much they might have been abused themselves?
      No matter how mentally disabled they are?

  30. It is true according to the good book that we not judge however in that bible it states the wages of sin is death. As we all hav become familar with this story it is the facts presented that causes alarm. Its the how the why and the what was she thinking. As a mother I can’t imagine the horror that mother felt at losing her child. That alone would send a rage of anger through any decent God fearing person. If she’s not truly healed and filled with Gods love she could hurt again. What if she enjoyed the power she felt by taking away a life. I do believe that she should have remained behind bars. God bless her and keep her in her right mind and cover and keep those around her.

  31. I am not sure if justice was served or not. If she’s sorry for what she did and asked God to forgive her, then everything now is between her and God. The mom already forgave her and you have to admire her for that for I am sure that took Much Guts to do. My cousin murdered my grandfather and even though it almost killed my grandmother, she forgave him. So who are we to judge if the people who were hurt the most did what God did, Forgave?
    I’m not saying her being released is the right thing to do either. I’m kindof in the middle as to where I would stand in this.

  32. Who says that 69 year olds who walk with canes are not capable of harming anyone? Many people seem to be assuming that she is “no longer a threat.” If you think about it, she isn’t really that old. My mom is slightly younger than that and still babysits my kids. Remember that infants and young children are defenseless. They cannot successfully fend off any attack. It upsets me greatly that this fact seems to be overlooked.
    It’s not about whether or not she should be forgiven. It’s about protecting children. Have we lost sight of that?

  33. This monster should have been strangled to death a long time ago. Then justice would have been served and tax payers would not have had to support her murdering behind for a half a century.

  34. Incarnation has 2 purposes: to punish the offender and to prevent further danger to society. It can be argued that the punishment cannot end since the child cannot be brought back. That is a valid argument. However, at such an old age and ill health, continued punishment would not last much longer. As for being a danger to society, the danger is gone. Anyone that suggest she’s likely to hurt a child again just being obtuse. She will be in the public eye until she dies. To say “Don’t let her babysit your kids”, seriously? Do you think she’s looking for a babysitting job?

    Although the state will pay for her living expenses and health care for the rest of her life, incarnation cost much, much more. If you feel she should be back in prison regardless of the cost to tax payers, call the state Capitol and have them send YOU the bill.

  35. I am a firm believer in an eye for an eye. If we stopped coddling these criminals and started returning exactly what they dealt out I bet our crime rate would drop.

  36. I think we should not judge her. God is the judge.

  37. If you have lost a child (like I have) you know that this woman who intentionally beat an innocent baby DOES NOT deserve freedom. The death of a child is unlike anything any of you can imagine, unless it has happened to you. You have to give it to God and forgive or you will not be able to live day to day and will end up killing yourself. And…I mean there are times you feel you can not go on. Just because the Mother of Sandy said she forgave her, does not mean she felt this person deserved freedom. The only way for that Mother to continue to live was to Not let this monster control her day to day life and giving it to God and accepting Forgiveness was for her Sanity not the Victims. Sandy died a horrible death and at the very least this person who killed her should not walk free but work in a jail or situation with accused abusive persons. This is a slap in the face to innocent little Sandy who died a painful horrible death and ALL of the children who have suffered the same demise. God will judge and I assure the abuse of children, old people, animals and helpless individuals is not acceptable to him. If you haven’t experienced the helpless and hopeless feeling a Mother feels when her healthy precious baby is taken from her than you really do NOT understand the pain most of us feel to hear a Child KILLER is excused. Unacceptable, Unacceptable!!!

  38. This sentence (Forgiveness was for her Sanity not the Victims.) was suppose to say “NOT THE MURDERERS”. Sorry! Thanks.

  39. She had tried to kidnap another child before strangling the baby she was taking care of I am not so sure that I would have let her out she deserved to stay her full sentence. I am wondering what happened to the first child she kidnapped It does not say if she hurt the child in any way or if she received any kind of jail time for that one. If it would have been a man I wonder if he would be walking free.

  40. Second chance. What about baby Sandy’s second chance? I am sorry but the family has no second chance either. No chance to watch their baby girl granduate pre-k or cry when she enters a full day of preschool. Learns to tie a shoe. Cry’s cause of a fall and needs love to learn the trust of a parent to protect her. They were all robbed of these beautiful small things that are so big to are tiny souls that we bring into this world.
    This is nothing to rejoice over. There is yet another monster on the loose. Protect your babies. Love your babies and cherish the small things.

  41. the face of this woman for me does not show any remorse what can make a 20 yrs old woman to take d life of an innocent child, i still wonder. sine she is out they should mind the kind of environment she is kept
    away from children

  42. Far be it from me to presume to know what God knows, but I am not sure this woman deserves forgiveness by anyone but God. Forgiveness is a personal choice, which allows an individual to heal and grow and live in a healthier state of mind, hopefully. But, it’s still a personal choice.

    However, our willingness to forgive doesn’t necessarily mean there is any value whatsoever in the “act of forgiveness” for the person who committed the wrong doing against us, or others.

    Forgiveness aside, on what basis is this woman being set free, really? Is she being free’d because she is OLD? That’s all I’m able to locate so far.

    Many notorious serial killers are in prison and old as well. Shall we set them free?

    I’m sure there is a good deal of information surrounding the reason for clemency in Betty’s case, but the public hasn’t been informed of this “higher reasoning”, that I’ve been able to locate, and I find this aspect quite unsettling.

  43. I am sorry but to me a person convicted of killing a child should not ever be let out of prison. That child was an innocent human being and she ended any chance of a life for her. She in my book is a monster and should die in prison. No if’s but’s or and’s about it. If it were my child I couldn’t forgive and definately wouldn’t forget. It’s just not my nature I guess. But then again I believe in Karma so….

  44. It’s in situations like these that makes any parent realize the importance of doing a thorough background check on those we choose to take care of our children!

    With regards to Betty, a lot of different things contributes for a young girl of 20 or less to do the things she did, as they say, we are all the end product of our parents.

    Betty committed a crime, God’s word says that killing is a sin, like pride is a sin, jealousy is a sin, stealing is a sin, adultery is a sin, using the Lord’s name in vain is a sin …
    All sin falls under the heading of sin … so my question to you is … who of you is without sin?

    It does not matter if you have never killed anyone, or stolen from anyone, but if you have committed a sin you are a sinner!
    Betty was a sinner, like we all have been and most of us still are on a daily basis. How on earth can a sinner judge another sinner, secondly we need to be reminded that nothing is ours, our children are only borrowed for they and everything else belongs to God.

    What if forgiveness was a lesson for the parents to learn here on earth … surely you all know that we are here for spiritual growth as we have all been created by God for God and not only here to live a mortal life, after all we are a a spirit with a body and not a body with a spirit … think about it?

    Please also be reminded that forgiveness is a command from the Lord above, how can we expect God’s blessings and protection over our lives and the lives of our loved ones on a daily basis, if we are not prepared to forgive our brothers and sisters. As the Lord himself has said, that we are not to come before His presence, unless you have forgiven our brother.

    What took place all those years ago was very sad … very sad indeed!
    Betty has been forgiven by God, most importantly whom is our Creator and secondly by the mother whom I believe was chosen by God to take care of the child here on earth … why do most of us find it difficult to forgive if we are all without sin?

    God Bless

  45. Jan Brewer, does it again, releases a monster for economic reasons, AZ, doesn’t want to pay for cancer treatment for this convict, wants the feds to pay for it, meaning not just AZ taxpayers, all taxpayers.

  46. I agree. Let her rot in jail for the crime. She should have been executed in 1963 just how she executed an innocent baby.

  47. On the other hand the governor probably got tired of paying her medical bills along with room and board. Still she should have been hung 49 years ago. To think, they used to hang you for stealing a horse. Look how far we have come, for the worst.

  48. Just leave the Woman along… Let God take care of her. He has his way in punching us. We think that after 49yrs in prison she’s been ok… NO she hasn’t…. Thats why they should of kept her there.

  49. Okay since, no one else seems to get this right. ERMA was the mother of child whom BETTY murdered. That is E R M A. There was a post talking about how sorry they were to hear that the ‘aunt Betty’ had died of cancer. It wasn’t the aunt named BETTY, it was ERMA. Betty was the woman who strangled this poor child. Paying attention while reading is something we learn in elementary school. COMPREHENSION

  50. As a mother to 3 beautiful kids I cant find the right words to express my digust. I find it humbling for the mother to figive the way she did. I honestly do not know if I could have forgiven but maybe its the closure the mother needed for herself more so than anything else. The mom forgave her with the belief that this murderer was going to spend the rest of her life in jail. I am somewhat relieved that this woman was not released while the mom was still here. That very well could have opened up healed wounds. May they all Rest In Peace & God Bless the surviving child.

  51. So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. I wonder if this was your mother, sister or aunt and was granted physical freedom you’d be happy to have them back!! or would you still feel the same way?? If the childs mother can forgive, what do are you holding on too?

  52. this lady is a murder. period. not only did she take away a life- it was an infant who couldnt defend herself. thats just plain out sick and wrong. this wasnt some freak accident- this lady watched a baby die in her hands- theres no way shes “normal” now. sick or not that lady deserves to rot in prison.

  53. If Emma can forgive this woman then I have no problem with her being released. What some of us fail to realize is that we have all done things we are not proud of in our lives and I know that this does not compare. I to am concerned because a child is involved but who are we to judge. This woman spent all her life remembering what she did and I think that is punishment enough. Having lost a child I understand the Mother’s choice in this matter. If you can’t let go and let God handle the rest, it can and will destroy your soul. I still hurt for the loss of an innocent life. I hope and pray that Emma has truely moved on.

  54. My question is, why didn’t she go to jail when she kidnapped the first baby she meant harm to? Instead she was let loose and committed this heinous murder to the second baby! Where was law enforcement with this??? Being free to do what evil she wanted, there was no Megan Law to show this mother that she was not someone to trust to watch her baby, she had no prior warning! If the courts threw the book at her for the kidnapping, her baby would still be alive, this was a miscarriage of justice, and now again with letting her free, if she kills again, the blood is on their hands as well.

  55. Annie, she kidnapped a child, and murdered another one, in cold blood. Do you want her to be your neighbor, living in the house next to you and your family? Near your young family? I certainly wouldn’t want to give her that chance, I have an 11 month old and a cold blooded killer on the loose scares me. Yes, god will be the final judge, not me, I get that, but here on earth, if someone kills, we as a society protect ourselves from these murderous few. The mother forgave her, and knew she had a life sentence, the mother has since passed away 10 years ago. Not sure how she would feel knowing that she is free. Kidnap, and murder, parents, lock your doors.

  56. Where was GOD when the baby was suffering ?

  57. they should of send her to us in Texas she would have been put to sleep by now she doesn’t deserve to be breathing and sure as hell not free to walk the streets that poor baby didn’t get a second chance why should she….crazy governor he should have her babysit his kids and see if he still thinks she is safe enough to release her.

  58. She NEVER should have been released. She’s GUILTY of MURDER plain and simple. Numbers 35:30 > Whoso kills any person, the murderer shall be put to death .. Is our Father in Heaven wrong? He’s NOT WRONG! Anyone who thinks contrary to his commands is only going against HIM. Open your eyes!

  59. I agree there is no reason for taking someone’s life, I don’t agree with her release. I have a family member that was sentenced to life for fighting with someone who almost died. He was sented to life without parole for attempted murder; yet this woman took a life and is set free? Maybe if my relative was caucasian, he wouldn’t have been locked up for the past 20 years. The law can be so unjust.
    The earlier comment regarding the grandmothers is correct. I have seen grannies that are very quiet and then you turn around and see that they no longer have patience for children and end up hitting them with their canes. This woman has been behind four walls for so many years that she has no idea of what today’s society is like. I’ve seen many instances where parents now a days “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Could you imagine this woman in a public place with children around? If she had no patience when she was young, who’s to say that she’s no longer a threat at an older age.
    As for the mother forgiving her … that took a very noble and strong heart. I am a mother and am very protective of my children. I couldn’t bare the thought of someone doing them so much harm as to taking their life.

  60. An eye for eye makes the whole world blind (Mahatma Gandhi). We dishonor Emma by willfully wanting revenge in the face of her generosity. The child will remain dead either way and is out of our control. But we can take care of the still living compassionately, recognizing that justice is not a synonym for revenge. Instead of seeking revenge, Emma asked Betty for restitution, in the form of peace and hope and it appears that Betty did just that. Such is perfect justice and we need to honor it.

  61. After reading so many post’s, I fail to understand why being a “christian” and offering “forgiveness” to a possible serial killer has anything to do with right and wrong or why “forgiveness” would be a reason to let a child murderer out of prison.

    I am a christian and I do not believe in letting child predator’s out of prison. I would prefer predator’s of children be sentenced to death, however, I would never presume to know what God knows, so, I let God be the final judge in another persons spiritual absolution. But, in the world of laws set by humankind, I have to trust that the laws established, in this country, are fair and just. I know they are not always perfect.

    What is unsettling to me about this case is that I can find no “real” reason for her being granted clemency. I don’t understand why so many proven child predator’s are released on parole. I don’t think any of them should be released.

    I’m not referring to teenager’s who’ve been accused of sex before the age of 18. I’m specifically referring to men and women who seek out children to torture and murder them for some emotional release, or “rush” they seek, which is only provided to them from the sexual torture and/or killing of an innocent child.

    Betty Smithey appears to be exactly such a case of some sick gratification brought about by the killing of a child. Serial killer.

    • I completely agree with your well stated and well thought out post. Forgiveness and absolution are not the same thing. The protection of children should be the priority.

    • Betty was not a serial killer. Perhaps you should read the links and you would discovery she had been bounced from foster home to institution to foster home as a child and had been severely physically and sexually abused. She kidnapped a child not to torture or hurt them but because she wanted a child (I have seen teens who had never had love of a parent get pregnant purposely in order to “have someone to love me”). The psychiatrists over decades concluded that she was insane at the time of the murder in that she did not remember it and appeared to have transferred her hatred of all the people that had hurt her onto that child at that moment. She has been successfully treated and the parole board reviewed all this information and decided she was no longer a threat to anyone.

      • AZDOC doesn’t usually worry so much about that part. I feel it’s something else. Jan Brewer has some issues in her past with her very own family/son so maybe there is something right there that swayed her decision knowingly or not. But I sure wish one of these cases of the unjust conviction with very questionable evidence on the crime they committed without repeat offenses and good behavior had been the case of the day she used her power to release. Not this one. But of course there’s no liability releasing her as she admits she did her crimes. I don’t know but it feels like something else is the reason behind this. Trying to grow some statistics for future psychology or rehabilitation federal funding for the AZDOC? (probably a good possibility) Can’t quite put my finger on it but I will I bet.

  62. She definitely did not deserve to be released. If anyone deserved to serve a life sentence, it is her. She murdered one child and kidnapped another. She’s just a bad seed through and through. She may not be a threat to society (maybe) but she doesn’t deserve any freedom. In fact, she’s an example of deserving the death penalty so she certainly does not deserve freedom.

  63. GOD cannot forgive us if we don’t forgive others who have hurt us. I am not saying its eas,y and I don’t know how I would reacxt, but the mother did the right thing (at least in GOD’s eyes). GOD bless her.

  64. I believe in forgiveness and second chances in most cases however, it seems to me that Betty received both forgiveness and a second chance. Had she been in prison, where dangerous violent people belong, for the kidnapping of a toddler, Sandy Gerebrick would be alive and 49 years old today. How can we as a society live with ourselves, when we put the “second chance” of a person who has proven they will re-offend, above the need to portect our most vulnerable members of society. I am a mother, and I could not bring myself to be at peace with the relases of someone who violently took my child’s life and went on to consider only her own wnats & desires by continualy trying to escape her consequenceI cannot fathom what possible reason the Governor had for pardonling a person like this or for haivng labeled her as “no longer a threat to society”.

  65. Originally I just assumed the death of this child was an accident but she still received life. But to hear that she deliberately strangled a baby to her death?!! And kidnapped another child before that! That is horrible and I’m outraged that this woman was released!! She deserved the death penalty, but at the very least to die in jail!!!!!

  66. Just because you’ve forgiven someone, that doesn’t mean that you have to forget what they have done. To protect ourselves and others, she should stay in prison.

  67. 1. Please stop misrepresenting GOD’s word.
    a. To understand “judge not lest ye be judged” you must continue reading. it also goes on to state “Matt 7:2-5 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged [if we judge with an evil heart or dark intent, His judgment of us will reflect it; if we judge nobly with honesty and justice, His judgment of us will reflect that, too], and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you [if we use extremes or exaggerations or other ignoble means”
    Alo there are numerous passages that tell us to judge including the one above. here are a couple more (old and new testament):
    John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
    Jer. 22:3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness
    b.Just because a person is forgiven does not mean that they dont have to face the consequences of their sin (Ga6:7,8) be it physical, punishment from earthly authorities, etc. Even though these are not punishments from GOD he may also chastise us. (He.12:6).
    c. “he that is without sin cast the first stone” does not mean that we don’t make judgements. it simply meant that only those free from sin could “execute” (not punish) her
    d. all of these scriptures are about examining oneself to make sure that we are responsible in our judgements and pure in our motives. if we were not to judge then no one could be corrected (try doing that with your kids
    e. for the “christians” please study your bibles more. I understand non-Christians misrepresenting GOD’s word but we must do our best to understand and be accurate. when we misquote or misinterpret the scriptures we do the same as satan.

    2. For all of you who say that GOD has forgiven this woman, how would you know? “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” (1Cor 2:11) We aren’t even supposed to trust our own hearts when it comes to sin F.Jer. 17:9-10 says,”The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
    “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).
    Be careful what you claim to know what GOD has done. We don’t know if she has repented (and it is not our business) so we cannot and should not assume. It does a disservice to GOD, ourselves, and to the soul that may need to be encouraged to repent.

    3. As far as the purposes of incarceration:
    a. Until recently jail/prison was for punishment. It was an agreement between a government and its citizens that pretty much meant that a citizen would foregoe their right to mete out justice and allow the government to act on their behalf. This in turn helped the government to keep order and maintain the safety of its citizens
    b. In recent years, we have decided come to the decision that prison is for rehabilitation is the primary goal of prison. In order for this to work there would have to be a mass overhaul of our current system. Also, may cause more problems because those victimized may feel that the government cares more about the rights/comforts/wellbeing of the perpetrator rather than the victim and take things into their own hands. A better cure would be to set up preventive rather than reactionary measures.
    Thanks for listening to my 2 cents.

    • You make so much sense! I really love your post. How could we possibly get through life without making any judgments? The key is to judge fairly.

      • I am one who has been victimized and find many believe the criminal has more rights than victims these days. Also, our rehabilitation efforts of these prisoners MUST be followed up with strict research of the future collateral damage these criminals rehabilitation causes like the affect it has had on my childs life who is forever changed as am I from some pretty sad rehabilitation of the AZ prison system. Thanks AZ DOC! Two good citizens stopped dead in their tracks. I see more on the horizon just from this ONE criminal.
        I am an adult but the children who are being harmed and counted on our protection have no say so and is God going to protect them or does God want them harmed? Isn’t there something about if you don’t know, that one thing but once you are aware, aren’t you supposed to be diligent in your protection? Especially of children? It will be to our demise if people don’t call a duck a duck and lipstick on a pig is still a pig. A predator with a bible who has memorized scripture is still a predator. There are survivors of this womans crimes who have witnessed and lived the collateral damage of those crimes and their healing if and when there was some was based on justice being served. I sure hope there are new victims……

  68. There is not enough information listed in this article to make a rational judgment. She was 21 when she committed murder. She was mentally ill. Was she delusional? Did she know what she was doing? Has she been treated since that time? Is she on medication that controls her mental illness? If someone is delusional or mentally ill through no fault of their own and this illness can be treated then why should they be in prison. They were not responsible for their crime. Society was responsible for not providing mental health care. Perhaps in 1963 they didn’t have the drugs to treat her and perhaps she didn’t have mental health care. None of us knows. The parole board obviously had much more facts and made a careful reasoned decision. It disturbs me that so many people jump to conclusions and want revenge without knowing the facts. Even if she was not mentally ill and had murdered, what purpose is there to waste $60,000 plus keeping her in prison when she is not a threat to society any more? I am against life without parole and absolutely against the death penalty. Both are inhuman and a waste of money. We should use careful analysis and reasoning to determine sentences and every 10 years at least, sentences should be reviewed to see if they are still reasonable , economical, and relevent to the mental health issues (as drugs become available that weren’t available in the past to treat mental health illness, as well as there are new ways to diagnose and care for those that are mentally ill that we didn’t have decades ago). Compassion, reason, fairness, consideration of new treatments, new monitoring methods, new understanding of mental illness is not limited to Christians. This is not a religious question. It is a question for careful analysis and consideration of all facts relevant to the case. Certainly a decision on guilt and sentence made nearly 50 years ago may have been flawed and deserves to be revisited.

  69. Jane Brewer, you are a screw up, releasing this woman after the things she has done, and escaping from prison.

  70. I agree with some of these comments. As I look into the eyes of my youngest daughter (who is 2 years old) I couldn’t imagine the absolute heartache it would cause me to lose her (or my other 2 children). The horror of possibly losing a precious child that you brought into this world is more than a fear, for some mothers it is a very sad reality.
    How anyone could hold a young baby with that much hatred and continue to strangle her while she fought for her life is beyond my comprehension. That, in my opinion takes a personality that can not be fixed. Her actions took that baby’s future and possibly the future of her siblings.
    She is fortunate that I was not the mother in her case. I would have sought retribution of my own design, regardless of the law. I believe in God and in forgiveness, but call me cruel, I don’t care. She should have received the death penalty as far as I am concerned. Some things can not be undone or forgiven. I am embarassed to be living in Arizona right now.

  71. She took an innocent life, a baby who had no defense, she should of fried a long time ago. She doesnt deserve to be happy the rest of her life, the baby didnt get the chance. The mother died after living through that hell of losing a child and she lives on. Not fair !!!!!! What the hell is a matter with our justice system?

    • i agree but you also have to look at the whole situation…even though this bitch killed an innocent young helpless life that does not mean SHE should ,as you say “FRY” .God gives every one more than one chance to own up to what they did and after that its between her and God what happens from there. If you killed some one you wouldn’t want to die or be fried to death you’ll want a second chance … take that in to consideration …and give it some thought.

      God Bless You…

  72. I would never allow her to be with any young children without supervision.

  73. Guys, there is not point in arguing with each other over this. People may not like it and may even get angry, but this is out of our hands. All we can do, as good Christians, is pray and put faith in God. Then hug our children and keep a sharp eye out. Peace people.

  74. What was her reason for killing this child? Was she a friend to the child’s mother or was she babysitting? What’s the whole story here? Thanks.

    • Jody,

      You obviously did not read the first link. It is a detailed story. Most of the answers you asked for are in it. The reason for her killing Sandy Gerberick? Never given. The rest of the story is in that link.

  75. 49 years is long enough! She has had plenty of time to think about her mistakes. I don’t think she will ever kill or harm again (and i dont mean for everyone to rush out an let her babysit your children). But really do you believe she wants to do anything else??? God will punish her when it’s her time. God bless her and everyone else out in the world.

  76. I can’t believe that this woman has been released, she should have spent the rest of her life in Prison for the crime she has committed. I think the mother of the child was just trying to find peace and forgiveness for her to move on after the loss of her child and I think thats wonderful. But the Smithey woman committed a crime that she should pay for the rest of her life. She took a child’s life and I think her life should be taken whether it be life in prison or the death penalty.

  77. What purpose does she serve in society to get an early release? She kidnapped one child and killed another ! This is one women i would have a hard time sleeping knowing that she is out on the streets again it wouldnt surprise me if she ended up killing or kidnapping another child!

  78. Is 49 years long enough for killing a baby? Has justice been served on behalf of this baby? I don’t know. Maybe it is;maybe it’s not. Jesus loves us all and forgives us regardless who we are or what we do. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and he forgave those that betrayed him and condemned him. If he forgave; then why can’t we forgive? Who are we to judge anyone? Before we judge let’s make sure that our lives are perfect and free of sin. Remember that when you point your index finger at someone there are 3 fingers pointing back at you.

  79. God did not release her from prison…..people did, God’s will may be done sometimes, but people often go against God’s will. I do believe that prison does very little in rehabilitating anyone and someone with a mental illness that goes untreated is still very much a threat, no matter what their age. People living in prison “find God” and “change for the better” every day, it does not mean that their new found attitude will carry over to their new found freedom. She still, even at 70 yrs old, possesses the same issues and the same hands that kidnapped one child and strangled another and did God only knows what else to other children that she did not get caught for. I am a firm believer that if you truly are guilty of a crime, sentenced to life, then you should be in prison for life and to think about the life you took every single day. That baby was 14 months old…….she never got a 2nd chance to live free.

  80. I was sent to prison for my first a fence for takeing a car but this lady got out for murdering a baby what’s up with that???I was on the same yard with Betty For 1.5yrs she had such a negative vibe every time I would see or pass by her.she would be nice 1min and not so nice the next . seeing that I was the only young person there she would offer me some of her store every Friday in her cell and then she would change to a different person.but not 1 time would she tell me why she was in there after I would talk about my case to her.she would just change the subject..

  81. wow what is this world coming to..they are just letting anyone get away with anything. To the fool who stated “she been in prison 49 years hasn’t she been punished enough” you must not have kids because had it been your baby you’d be first in line demanding she get the electric chair. This was not a freak accident she wasn’t driving home from church and the child didn’t just run out in the street after a ball.this psycho took this innocent baby in her hands and strangled her. why? idk either way there’s no good excuse besides she sick in the head and before that she kidnapped another child yeh if it was my child id be writing the president, the mayor, hell even the school principal demanding this woman not be released. also veronica i am reading your comment above and you state how we should make sure our life is perfect and free of sin well i can’t speak for everyone else but i know my life is not perfect and i sin every dam day but not once in my life have i ever sinned to this magnitude. I’ve stolen, cheated on my boyfriend, cheated on a test, ran red lights, and speeded ive done it all but never have i ever taken a life never have i harmed a child in anyway and honestly i dont believe in god i dont believe in heaven or hell but if there is such a place do you think this nut job will get into heaven before me i think not.

  82. i have been reading and they got nerve to say they say no reason to keep her locked up anymore. hmmm do they really think just because she is an old woman she can’t hurt anyone? i don’t know if anyone remembers steven staynor but when they let kenneth parnell out of jail he wasn’t a spring chicken either and guess what his old butt got out and tried to buy a child. so im not buying that “she’s old, she’s damn there a hundred years old what can she do?” the woman is driving clearly her mind is working right and she’s able to move and function so who’s to say she wont do this again afterall she does have a history of hurting children not once but twice and who knows what she has done and hasn’t got caught

  83. “…not a threat to society…”

    She kidnapped toddler Mitchell Johnson in 1959, then in 1963 she murdered 15-month old Sandy Gerberick.

    She was definately a threat to Mitchell and to Sandy. Why do we allow such murderers to live at all. She should have been executed nearly fifty years ago.

  84. Hi, now im not sure if its a question of life in prison being the Christian thing to do or not, but I personally know of a case where a 2yr was killed. I pray her killer never gets out. If the mother forgave her fine, God bless her but that doesn’t make her any less dangerous. If she was your neighbor or famiy member, how comfortable would u feel with her around u or your children? Be realistic. I Am Christian, but that doesn’t mean that we must lack the common sense God gave us. If it was your child or sibling would u want her out??Be Honest

  85. I do believe in the bible it says don’t judge others. God will deal with anyone that does not live by his word, when they get to him.. I don’t want to be in her shoes or anyone else’s that murdered when my time comes.
    I also believe that little girl is in heaven. She is not suffering. She is running and playing happily.

  86. She should have been put to death in the exact same mannor as she choseto use to end that child’s life . It a lot slower let her suffer in pain and agony let her feel a1000 fold what she fo ed on another then hopefully she will have hell to look foreword to .

  87. The comments on this blog disturb me. People jump to false conclusions based on stereotypes and ignoring the facts. I have now read about the case. Betty was one of 7 kids whose father died and whose mother couldn’t care for them. They were sent out to different families. Betty was unlucky and was bounced from foster home to institution to foster home and was never loved but was beaten and sexually abused. She kept running away (wonder why!). She eventually was in an institution where a psychologist thought she could be a good babysitter and brought her into her home. She kidnapped a child and treated the child as her own as a teenager! As a mental health professional I have seen teenage girls who never had love want a child and purposely get pregnant so “someone will love me.” Those who never had love crave it and think a baby or toddler will give them love. She kidnapped the toddler but did not harm him, just kept him as “her child.” Then after she was caught and sent to juvenile jail for four years, when she got out, she again got a job as a babysitter. Obviously she never got the mental health treatment she needed and the mother of the dead child didn’t know her background. She does not remember killing the toddler. The psychiatrists who examined her over the years diagnosed that Betty was transferring the hate concerning those that abused her to the baby and with no conscious awareness of what she was doing strangled the child (likely delusionally thinking she was fighting against those that abused her when the child was crying). She has been treated for decades and was on medication for decades. They have weaned her off medication to prevent psychosis and delusions and she responded well to psychotherapy. The psychiatrists feel she no longer needs medication. She now has understanding of what happened to her and how it affected her mental health. Professionals determined 20 years ago she was no longer a danger to anyone and recommended parole. Those that have a blood lust to kill her and falsely label her a serial killer should obtain counseling and find out why you want to rush to judgement without fact and why you don’t care about motive or mental health. Do you really think that anyone who commits a crime without conscious awareness of what they are doing or mental capacity to understand what they are doing (children, psychotic, or mentally retarded) should automatically be tortured and executed? Is that the kind of justice we want. If so, perhaps you should move to a country that allows torture and beheading or hanging. I want justice, not barbaric revenge.

    • i suppose we must assume that your assumptions are sounder than anyone else’s assumptions????

      • I am basing my opinion on the facts, not on false assumptions. We incarcerate 40 Xs more people per capita than any other civilized country. China with more than 3 times our population has the same number of prisoners. Yet our country is NO SAFER than any of these countries. Looks like we are NOT handling crime right. People can be rehabilitated. Remember more than 95 % of prisoners are eventually released. If we don’t start taking rehabilitation more seriously we will just keep a rotating door in front of our prisons and jails. Is revenge the appropriate driving force for sentencing? I agree with Gandhi: “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. However, I think our education system is so poor concerning mental health and mental illness that the majority of our population believe wrongfully that “once a killer always a killer”; our morals are so poor as we care more about blood lust than forgiveness and rehabilitation; our politicians make poor choices in that keeping people in jail for excessive sentences costs more than rehabilitating them so they can be procuctive citizens and contribute to the tax base – our excessive sentences (yes most of the world gives 20-30 yr sentences for murder – not life sentences and most of the world sends those that kill children due to post-partum psychosis or other psychosis that resulted from child abuse as was the case with Betty to mental hospitals for a few years and not prison); our vision is so short sighted that we think only of the present and ignore the future consequences to our society both economically and morally, that it is pointless to try to discuss this topic in a reasonable way on this blog. No one cares about long-term answers to the issue of excess incarceration and gross lack of mental health care in this country. Instead of preventing crime by increasing access to mental health care and increasing spending on education and rehabilitation, we would rather just waste money on excessive sentences and an incredibly large, corrupt, and inadequate justice system – or rather incarceration industry.

    • Because I am making my opinions based on life experience with predators in the mix. I know the BS psychology places on upbringing and it has now infiltrated the court system and the for Gods sake the CHURCH and many do not care what her sorry upbringing has been that made her commit crimes repeatedly and pose as a safe babysitter while kidnapping and then murdering two different children “for love” and then “displaced anger” cause she no longer loved? Or is without conscience?
      I am just sick of the psycho babble and I believe psychology should be used for giving tools to non-violent criminals and help them work through stuff but murder? Give me a break! Mind reader? I’m not. Just going off that proven fact of “best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”. I believe prison teaches these sociopaths polished skills and if they have anger issues they are contained like a bomb in most who have done time. I just don’t care about her upbringing, she was sentenced. Do your time. Too many good people come from tragic upbringings and this is just wrong.

      • Betty is not classified as a sociopath by the psychiatrists. If she was, she would not have been released. Sociopaths can not be rehabilitated. This is not psychobabble. It is only “psychobabble” to the uneducated who refuse to educate themselves about what constitutes a psychosis and inability to understand what crime the offender has committed and what makes a psychopath or sociopath. It is very important for our justice system to NOT lump everyone who commits a crime into one category. Some people can be rehabilitated and some cannot. People like Andrea Yates who drowned her five children in an episode of post partum pschosis because she was not treated by psychiatrists adequately, believe that they must kill their children to protect them from evil (the devil, satan, whatever). They do not consciously want to torture or kill them. They actually beleived at the time of the crime that they were doing what was best for the children and protecting them by killing them! Some conditiions are totally and completely treatable. Certain hormone disorders such as a thyroid crisis can make a person incredibly psychotic and violent to the point they have no understanding about what they are doing and when the condition is treated they return to normal. Yes the offender will have great remorse when their treatment gets them to the point the understand what they did. But when the treatment is successful, they will not repeat their crimes. Are we so barbaric that we think that no matter what, even if a person is under a psychotic delusion from acute severe hyperthyroidism, post-partum psychosis, or other psychotic delusions that they should be tortured in prison and kept in prison for life or given the death penalty? If you really believe that we should not treat these people different than those who kill for fun, for fortune, or for greed, then I am very sad and believe that our country is very barbaric.

  88. She kidnapped a child, then murdered another child, and escaped from prison 4 times. She was given life and that is what she should have served. I know the prisons are overcrowded, but her release was unjustified, but on the other hand you can ask yourself “what kind of life is she going to have now anyway?” she is t going to know how I function in today’s society. She can’t earn any type of income because she’s a criminal, old and probably disabled. She will die a loney old woman.

    • She kidnapped a child and didn’t hurt him, but treated him as her child. She escaped (ran away) repeatedly from foster homes and institutions that she had been bounced between and been physically and sexually abused in from the time she was a little kid and taken from her mother. Why would she not continue this pattern of trying to run away from places where she was being abused? As she didn’t have the mental health care she needed in her childhood years, teens and young adulthood I believe it would be consistent with the only coping mechanism she had to try to run away. She didn’t learn any other coping mechanism until she was treated for decades in prison. The psychiatrists (several) agreed that she had no memory of killing the child and appeared to have at the time transferred her hate of and fear of the people who had for years been abusing her on to the toddler she killed. The psychiatrists treated her for decades with medication and psychotherapy, were able to wean her from the medication and have concluded that she is no longer a danger as the mental health issues have been treated successfully.

      • Her niece has agreed to let her live with her. Her six sisters that were placed in more loving foster or adoptive homes are quite sad that Betty was subjected to such abuse and then it affected her mental health. They have continued to keep in contact with her and I believe they will therefore all look after her. Where she will live and who she will interact with has been reviewed by and approved by the parole board.

  89. My mom grew up with an abusive mother and brothers. She babysat for neighbors and family. She became a mother of 5 girls. Not once has she ever used her childhood abuse as an excuse for killing her children or anybody elses children. If her life was so bad why would she want anyone to feel what she felt. That poor baby did not deserve to die the way she did. her life was taken out of ignorance and hate. I dont care if she is 70 years old, if she can kidnap and kill a child she can do it again. I will pray for her in hopes that god has mercy on her soul for she took one of his children.

    • Thank you! That’s what I am saying. What message did they just send to several other abuse victims as children? Oh there will be some sucker who can’t see into my soul and will feel sorry for me so what I do today will not matter. If you have the ability to transfer homicidal rage to a child and you act on that, you should pay and do your damn time for your crime and if you change in your heart, then take your time to send a message to other children……DON”T MURDER CHILDREN, KIDNAP CHILDREN WHILE POSING AS A BABYSITTER, DON’T ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE PRISON, NOT ONCE BUT 4 TIMES IF YOU HAVE BEEN ABUSED AS A CHILD OR YOU END UP LIKE ME!! STUCK HERE THANKING MY LUCKY STARS THEY DIDN’T FRY ME!
      Sorry for yelling. I am so sick of this psychobabble…….
      I will admit I have anger issues right now. I am recovering from revictimization from a “rehabilitated criminal released from AZ prison who carries a Bible and harms children”. Oh but I won’t murder anyone as I have a conscience.

      • I am so sorry you were revictimized and have suffered. I will pray that you find peace and that you have health insurance so that you can get the counseling to help you find peace.

  90. I think the state didn’t want to have to pay for her care cause she is sick. They let her out to save money. If she can get out cause she is old and I’ll does that release all the other murders rapists just cause they old and sick? I am a Christian and forgiving a person does not absolve them of the punishment they deserve.

  91. Why do so many here seem to feel that killing a 1 yr old is infinitely worse than killing, say, a 31 yr old?

    • Why is killing a one year old worse than killing someone older? In my opinion, it is because infants are the most innocent and fragile among us. It is inherintly more heinous because children cannot fight back and they have done nothing to deserve abuse/murder. When our society gets to the place where the death of children no longer shocks and horrified us, what kind of people would we be?

      • Jessie,

        This also describes the most elderly people as well. NO ONE deserves to be murdered and all victims are as important as the next. If it was your loved one who was murdered, regardless of their age you would want people to remember them and have justice. (I am not saying that you did not mean that either, just important for me, as blog owner, to state it).

        • I don’t know if you will allow this to be posted or not. However, I do believe that the death of someone who is defenseless and innocent is worse than another victim’s death. Of course, in a perfect world, I would not want anyone to be murdered or victimized. All victims are very important.
          After much thought on this subject, I must respectfully disagree with you. For instance, the death of my mother or grandmother would be awful and painful. The death or my child, on the other hand, would be devastating and absolutely crushing.
          I am reminded of the original reason I made this post. Someone asked why many of the posters seemed to think the death of a one year old is worse than that of a thirty-one year old. Doesn’t the fact that all these bloggers were inferring that the death of a one year old was worse tell us something?
          The death of a child strikes the deepest place inside us simply because it is indeed more heinous.
          I agree that every victim, family of a victim, and society all deserve justice. They are all important. But, in my humble opinion, I honestly believe the death of someone innocent and defenseless is worse.
          I mean no disrespect to you or anyone else.

    • Why do you not get it?

  92. It is never, ever “part of God’s plan” for one of God’s children to harm or kill another one. I hate to hear God being blamed for people’s bad decisions in this way. I believe that God can use use horrible tragedies to bring about good, but it is never God’s intention that one of us behave badly SO THAT good can come. What kind of God would that be?

  93. Just did a little bit of research on Smithey’s records while in jail. There’s over 14 reports of her “getting in trouble” while in jail. The latest one in may of 2012, for disorderly conduct. There are several disorderly conducts and assaults with weapons, these all happened after 1983 when Emma sent her the letter of forgiveness and Smithey supposedly “changed”. How has she changed?!? If she’s going to assault an officer or warden or whoever it was in prison with a weapon or have disorderly conduct as close as a month before her release, how has she changed, why was she released with these strikes against her while in prison? Those actions don’t seem to be any different than the reason she went to jail. I mean if she’s willing to hurt people in prison why not out of prison?

    • Do you have the details of those “incidents”? Probably not! Disorderly conduct in a prison includes ANY insolent remark to a guard. Assault with a weapon includes throwing food on the floor or even throwing a piece of paper. The parole board reviewed her record and thought these incidents were insignificant so why do you presume you know more than they do? Your comment is pure speculation without any facts.

      • so are yours………

        • My comments are not speculation. I am still trying to obtain compensation for wrongful incarcerations. I am a disabled person, whistle blower about judicial and police misconduct and have been wrongfully incarcerated. I know first hand about prison. I was disciplined for not walking to the door to “cuff-up” when I am disabled and unable to walk to the door and “cuff-up”. I know first hand the corruption in our prison system and courts. I am also a retired mental health physician and pediatrician. I saw first hand the misdiagnoses, the abuse of the mentally ill in the court systems, etc. I am also a part time paralegal now and my cases are now at the U.S. Supreme Court level. If you go on their web site you can see the two cases I wrote pro se for myself and as a paralegal for another pro se individual (Bambic). I am actively working to reform our injustice system and educate the public that at least 7 % of individuals in jail and prisons are innocent, that those who are mentally ill at the time of their crimes with psychosis or with post partum psychosis can be treated and can recover and should not be lumped with others who knowingly kill for the thrill of it. From reading about the case, it is clear to me that Betty was psychotic at the time due to the endless abuse and neglect of her as a child, that she kidnapped the toddler so she could have someone to love her and have a family (this was a psychotic delusion) and killed the toddler in a fit of psychosis that was treated over the decades. She now understands what happened to her and is no longer a danger to the public.

          • Linda Shelton,
            Thank you for responding to me and I had a feeling you may have some first hand knowledge. I am sorry for you for that. I am an advocate myself with the injustice system and am very concerned about the number of mishandled cases and flat out innocent people incarcerated. So I admire your work and we are on the same side on that one. I live in AZ. I am currently fighting for my own revictimizing case along with my daughter who went from a happy honor roll student, purple belt in karate along with helping handicapped children in her school by applying. She was considered a “well rounded student. Pleasure to be in class and takes responsibility like most children don’t these days”. Now she has regressed and has night terrors along with grades plummeting, quit karate and no longer could help the special needs kids as she said she couldn’t deal with their problems anymore. Suicidal and self harming which I have worked very hard to turn around. So much damage. This is due to some serious issues in family court and fathers coming from the prison system having too many rights while a child has none.

            I also have my opinion about this woman as she is guilty. Just like the gun laws and people want everyone allowed to carry one so they can shoot the maniac in the theater who starts shooting everyone but they forget that the guy who’s a bad shot might be there and do they think about an all out gunfight with irresponsible weapons users legally? Where are lines to be drawn? She was sentenced and I still believe this can rewound the people who suffered collateral damage like the other family members who committed suicide and their extended families.

            Obviously we both have reasons we are passionate about this topic I see.

          • Stillhere, I urge you to contact the AZ group of This is 400,000 people throughout the U.S. trying to organize to reform the corrupt and inadequate family court system. If you look up my name, Dr Linda Shelton on Google, you will find my blogs and you will be able to comment. You can leave your email confidentially when you comment and I but no others can see it. I can then send you links to this and other organizations advocating for reform of the courts.

      • Do you actually have the details? Describe the weapons. Describe the incidents of disorderly conduct. Unless you have the details, you are just speculating.

    • Thank you so much for doing that research and I wish I just would have read your post earlier as I read all of these. This is exactly what I was expecting and this woman who keeps sticking up for this woman is incorrect with the prison assaults. They don’t hand them out like candy to the inmates for dropping eating utensils.
      Thank you again………….
      Although I am very concerned about Jan Brewers decision and I believe there should be a decision which lands on the person who pardons these people if they ever commit another crime.

  94. i think if the mother forgave this woman and let the peace come, none of us have the right to sit here and judge. 49 yrs ago it’s a long time to over think and make a change . Nobody knows what’s in tomorrow’s day. Be more forgiving Let go and Let God, this child wont be back either you keep the hate in you or hate this woman .

  95. I agree pardons should be far and few between. Those that have the power to issue pardons should be held responsible for the actions of those they let go. Maybe that will make them think about it a little bit more…

  96. I am encouraged by the compassion for this murdered child. With the same resolve I hope you will work to end the death of the unborn as well. A child that can be killed with his/her head out of the womb and the remainder of the body still in the canal should be assured the same as one just months on the outside.

    Mom is to be commended for sharing the peace she finally received with Betty. Many of us work through the forgiveness issues and reconcile we are guilty but forgiven. The responsibility and difficulty we face is to not be involved in doing those things again. that is when the evidence of a changed life occurs. If we all are to get what we deserve, then none of us deserve the blessings we receive.

  97. Wow, 49 years in prison

  98. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Unfortunately, looking at her when she was younger, it does not appear that she has all her faculties about her. I hope she is remorseful for her actions and can now live in peace. Unfortunately that’s probably asking alot, particularly if she is mentally unstable. I’m sure it was extremely difficult for the mother to forgive her, as I, also a mother, probably couldn’t find it in my heart to do that.

  99. 49 years is enough. She was young and had a crap childhood to say the least. Any one of us may have done the same or similar if we had grown up in that environment. The victims mother has forgiven her and she’s 70 years old, I seriously doubt she is a threat of any kind to society. And she did give up her life for what she did, 20 to 70 in prison. That’s life.

  100. What does this–> ” Release Type: RECEIVED AT” <– mean?? Please let me know? And i don't believe so either…no matter what her reason which I'll never understand no matter WHAT they were.. But out of curiosity what WERE the reasons she gave for her hurting these poor innocent babies???

    • Summer,

      I am guessing that it is a code they have in the DOC department. If you really want to know, call the Arizona Department of Corrections. It has since changed, as I did this during the time she was being released. Some of the codes on the inmate record mean something to them but not the general pubic.

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