Kristin Smart’s family hopes guilty verdict in her 1996 murder brings them some closure.
Kathleen O’Neil of New Mexico, a retired teacher and mother of four, was found face down on the bathroom floor of the bathroom that her and Kristin Smart shared in their South Carolina ranchhouse. The bathroom, which Kathleen shared with the older woman for 30 years, had two commodes: a “wet” commode in the stall that Kathleen used to use and a “dry” commode.
Smart, who has been in jail since 2003, can’t remember a part of the morning she and Kathleen were found. But it was the beginning of a trial forSmart’s murder that spanned from late December to early July this year. In the months after the discovery, the family struggled to come to terms with the loss of their only child and daughter-in-law. She was 27 and they had just moved into a house they called The Ranch House, with an in-law suite of rooms for them and their four children.
The smarts was a divorced mother of four, and a part-time teacher, whose life had been full and rich. She enjoyed playing tennis, bowling, dancing with women, and traveling with her children, who ranged from 2 to 21. She loved dogs, and had owned a dog almost from birth who died three weeks before the Smarts’ bodies were found.
Kathleen was a strong, independent woman whose love of life was apparent in every aspect of her life. Smart’s family says she was one of the most kind, loving, caring, loving women. Smart was active in the community. She served on the board of the New Mexico Library Association, was a board member of the Southwest Arts Consortium and the board of a local dog rescue group. She volunteered for a year with the American Red Cross.
The Smart family says they are grateful that the trial has brought an end to a nightmare. As the prosecutor in the case put it, in the beginning of the trial of the two, they “had the whole courtroom