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Kelsey's mother gets 27 years in prison

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By Nolan Clay Modified: September 10, 2007 at 2:20 pm •  Published: September 10, 2007
2 statement written for a report to the judge. "I also believe that there are people guilty of things running free. ... Kathie Briggs knows I didn't hurt Kelsey, and she knows I didn't sit back and let it happen.”

Under Oklahoma law, Smith must serve almost 23 years — 85 percent of her sentence — before she is eligible for parole.

Smith wore a black pants suit and white blouse. She was handcuffed and had ankle chains.

Kelsey's father, Lance Briggs, called Smith's statement in court "mind boggling.”

"She doesn't get it,” he said. "No remorse.”

He was returning from military duty when Kelsey died.

Kelsey's stepfather, Michael Lee Porter, is serving 30 years in prison. He 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.

He and Smith wed on April 18, 2005, and divorced after Kelsey died. In her Aug. 2 statement, Smith wrote, "If I could've seen into the future I never would've dated Mike Porter.”

After the sentencing, Smith's mother, Gayla Smith, told reporters, "Kelsey was very, very special to all of us, and her mother loved her more than anyone can ever imagine. ... We, Raye Dawn's family, love her. We support her and we will dedicate ourselves to reversing this injustice.”

At the sentencing was Michele Reeves, one of the jurors. She said she was there for closure.

"She should have protected that baby with everything that she had,” said Reeves, 38, of Sapulpa. "There was no evidence showing she ever tried to protect her. It hurts to think that moms would do that. ... Don't know what her reason was for it but the evidence showed ... after being told numerous times that the child was being abused ... she just looked the other way.”

Reeves said jurors agreed right away during their deliberations that Smith was guilty but they compromised on punishment. Reeves said she wanted Smith to get a life sentence.

She said at one point one male juror suggested Smith get only one year. Reeves said she held up a picture of Kelsey and told the other juror, "This child was given life in a cold grave.”

Reeves said she would have found Smith guilty of murder, if that had been an option for the jury.

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