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Jurors could begin deliberating fate of Kelsey's mother

By Nolan Clay Modified: July 18, 2007 at 3:52 pm •  Published: July 18, 2007
BRISTOW — Jurors at the child-abuse trial for Raye Dawn Smith will begin deliberating today or Friday after closing arguments are completed.

Smith, 27, wept again this morning as a prosecutor pointed at her and said she was responsible for the death of her daughter.

"She did nothing. She did nothing,” prosecutor Pattye High said in the start of closing arguments. "Do not let her tears in this courtroom dissuade you from justice.”

Prosecutors are asking jurors to convict Smith of either child abuse or enabling child abuse. Her daughter, Kelsey Smith-Briggs, 2, died on Oct. 11, 2005, at their home near Meeker.

Both District Attorney Richard Smothermon and defense attorneys say Kelsey's stepfather, Michael Lee Porter, sexually assaulted and murdered Kelsey. Porter is serving 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to a lesser charge under a deal with prosecutors. He and Smith divorced after Kelsey's death.

High said Smith both abused Kelsey herself, which is child abuse, and knew Porter was abusing the girl, which is enabling child abuse. She told jurors they must pick one.

"She knew. She knew,” High said. "A mother doesn't have the right to choose her man over her baby. A mother doesn't have the right to do it. ... The law requires a mother to stand up for her child.”

Jurors in the trial heard from 22 prosecution witnesses, 10 defense witnesses and two prosecution rebuttal witnesses. Smith did not testify herself.

The prosecution witnesses included Porter, who denied hurting Kelsey and blamed his ex-wife for the death.

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