BRISTOW — The mother of Kelsey Smith-Briggs asked Monday for a new trial, alleging the district attorney has lied about where he lives so he was not qualified to prosecute her. Raye Dawn Smith also complained doctors shamefully overstated evidence, several jurors slept during testimony and the media acted "like a plague of locusts.” "An innocent woman was convicted of a terrible crime,” her new attorney, Stephen Jones, wrote in a 94-page legal brief. Smith is serving a 27-year prison sentence for enabling child abuse.
BackgroundJurors in July found Smith, 27, guilty of allowing her then-second husband to abuse Kelsey. Kelsey, 2, died Oct. 11, 2005, at her home near Meeker. Doctors determined she died from abuse. Jurors heard testimony that Kelsey had been abused for months, suffering a broken collarbone, broken legs, bruises, a sexual assault and other injuries. Kelsey's stepfather, Michael Lee Porter, is serving 30 years in prison. Porter, 27, once was charged with sexually abusing and murdering Kelsey, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of enabling child abuse after reaching a deal with prosecutors. Smith's trial judge, Paul Vassar, will hear her request. She can raise the same issues at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals if she doesn't get a new trial.
Reasons for new trialJones gave about a dozen reasons her trial was unfair. A key argument involves District Attorney Richard Smothermon. Her attorney contends Smothermon was not qualified to prosecute her because he lives in Edmond, which is outside his district of Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties. Her attorney called the district attorney's house in Shawnee "a political disguise.” "He lives in Edmond ... with his wife. He sleeps there at night, he parks his car there and he shops and does everything from his laundry to automobile repairs in and around Edmond,” Jones wrote. "No effort is maintained, really, to disguise this fact. ... Consequently, he has no authority to investigate and prosecute this case and, apparently, continues as a prosecutor by a lie.” Smith's trial was moved from Lincoln County to Creek County because of the pretrial publicity in the first county. Smothermon said Monday, "I'm disappointed that the defendant has chosen to personally attack me and my prosecutors rather than the evidence. ... I am a resident of my district, a fact recognized by the Oklahoma State Election Board, and, ironically, proven by the defendant's exhibits. All of the propositions are filled with bold allegations, lacking any factual basis and designed to draw attention away from the fact that ... Smith was convicted of enabling child abuse.” In the legal brief, Smith again claims she was only prosecuted because the district attorney feared the political prowess of her former mother-in-law, Kathie Briggs. Her attorney wrote Briggs' efforts led to a judge's defeat and Smothermon "realized his own political vulnerability to Ms. Briggs.” Briggs on Monday declined comment. "I'm used to that kind of stuff,” she said. Smith's attorney revealed that since the trial, he has sent X-rays of Kelsey's broken legs to an expert in California who determined they were "bilateral oblique fractures,” a kind "usually associated with falls from swings, slides, trees, etc.” A key prosecution witness, a doctor, testified at trial Kelsey suffered spiral fractures from abuse like when someone slings a child by the leg in anger.
Raye Dawn Smith