A 10-year-old boy, Bradyn Smith who watched in horror as his mother stabbed his father to death in front of him wrote a letter begging a judge to keep her in jail.
According to ITV news, Bradyn Smith was just four when, he said, his father put him in time out, sparking an argument between the two parents which ended with his mother, Shannon Smith, plunging a knife into his dad’s chest.
Shannon, now 29, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in 2009 after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence – but she appeared in court in Warren County, Ohio, USA, on Wednesday to ask for early release.
In a letter written in pencil, Bradyn asked the court to deny her request.
Dear Judge Peeler:
I feel that my mom should stay in prison because I seen her stab my dad clean through the heart with my sister in his arms.
Life for me would be 10 times better if mom didn’t kill my dad because that took a big amount of happiness out of mine and my sister’s life.
I think it would be better for me and my sister if my mom would stay in prison because I am afraid of her, because I have seen what she did to my dad.”
– Bradyn Smith
He told officers at the time that he saw his father, Robert Takach, push his mother and that she grabbed the knife, stabbing him before throwing the knife in the sink.
His pleas went unheeded, however, as the judge brought forward her release date to December next year.
Patty Todd, mother of Mr Takach, said she was “in shock” at the ruling – and said the youngsters were still frightened of their mother.
The judge said she needed to be out to be there for her children — but her children are afraid of her.
She took a life in front of her children. The court just disregarded the children’s lives, my son’s life.
– Patty Todd, Grandmother
After being arrested, Smith told police she had been pregnant with another man’s child as Takach has been in rehabilitation.
He was staying at her home in the town of Franklin to spend time with Bradyn and their daughter, Brooklynn, she said, when the argument broke out.
She claimed he began pushing her stomach and asking “how could [she] do this”, before grabbing her around the throat, throttling her. That was when she grabbed the knife, but said she only intended to cut his arm to make him let go.
Court documents revealed when officers arrived, the young Bradyn told officers that “his mommy stabbed his daddy and put the knife in the sink”.
When Bradyn’s letter was read out in court, Smith’s attorney said, his mother wept in the dock.