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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Smith Sentenced to Life

UNION, South Carolina () -- Susan Smith has been sentenced to life behind bars for drowning her two young sons last October in a case that shocked the United States.

The former secretary, 23, was sentenced by a jury of nine men and three women after 2 1/2 hours of deliberations Friday. Her defense lawyer had pleaded with the jury to spare her from execution, saying her family could not stand more grief.

Smith was convicted of murdering her sons, Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months, when she let her car roll into a nearby lake with the boys strapped in their child safety seats.

The jury also had the option to sentence her to death.