Las Cruces—Today, Annette Smith pleaded guilty to Attempt to Commit Abuse of a Child (Resulting in Great Bodily Harm or Death), six counts of Abuse of a Child and one count of Tampering with Evidence. The Third Judicial District Court, Chief Judge Fernando R. Macias presiding, sentenced Annette Smith to a total of twenty-one (21) years in prison to be followed by a suspended sentence of nine (9) years and five (5) years of probation.
Third Judicial District Attorney Mark D’Antonio stated, “On behalf of this Office, I am pleased to announce the resolution of this case by virtue of the guilty pleas. The primary witnesses in this case were the natural children of Ms. Smith, children who had the courage to share their observations of the defendant’s behavior, demeanor and treatment of little Shania, an innocent baby. Without the bravery of the older children sharing their information the defendant’s conduct may well have gone unpunished. In this case, the defendant’s children were placed in a most difficult and unenviable position, the possibility of testifying against their own mother. The guilty pleas received in this case relieved the two children from that burden and will allow them to move forward with their lives.
Shania could not protect herself from the actions of her mother, the defendant, and ultimately she perished. Her two, older siblings attempted to protect Shania, and they did everything they could possibly do to help her. When that failed, they did what all good people should do – they reported the truth, no matter how difficult that might be.
I stress that the sentence in this case, twenty-one years in prison, is a strong one, one that serves the interest of justice. This sentence protects the defendant’s other children as well as the community.
I would like to thank the investigators and officers of the Las Cruces Police Department, the counselors and therapists who have assisted the children and those within my office who worked tirelessly to bring this case to a successful conclusion.”