A 28-year-old Fairdale mother was sentenced from two to 13 years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to child neglect.
“Whether she believes it or not, she killed her child,” Judge John A. Hutchison said of Brandy Smallwood.
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Smallwood admitted to leaving her 2-year-old twin boys, Graydon and Ezekiel, with her husband James Travis Green, 24, also of Fairdale, while she went to pay her drug dealer.
Graydon was beaten to death by Green, and Ezekiel was found with similar injuries to his head and face, as well as cigarette burns on his body.
Green was sentenced Jan. 14 to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 17 years.
“Nothing I say will bring my precious son Graydon back,” Smallwood said during her sentencing Tuesday. “I will never forget February 2013 as long as I live. I want Graydon to know how sorry I am for not protecting him.”
She said she wonders what her life would have been like if she had not been on drugs, and she said she regrets not being a better mother.
Although Smallwood’s sentiments in court reflected remorse, some recorded conversations between her and the biological father of the twins are contradictory.
Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller read a transcript of recorded conversations between Smallwood and Adam Morgan while he was serving time at Southern Regional Jail for burglary.
“I wish they would (blanking) go live with someone else,” Smallwood said to Morgan in December 2012, just two months before Graydon’s death.
Keller continued reading a few minutes worth of dialogue between the two, which was filled with expletives about the twins.
On Jan. 16, 2013, Smallwood said to Morgan, “I (blanking) hate my GD life. I just want to get rid of these babies and go back to bed.”
Morgan told her she should “bust their ass” and Smallwood replied, “I’ve been beating the (blanking) hell out of them.”
“It’s clear that in fact the defendant got exactly what she said she wanted,” Keller said Tuesday.
After a long pause from Judge Hutchison, he reviewed all of the original charges of the indictment.
Smallwood had been charged with malicious conduct resulting in the death of a child, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, child neglect resulting in death and child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury.
Under her plea agreement, she admitted guilt to two counts of child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury, one count for each of her twins.
Hutchison said it was clear that Smallwood did not want to plead guilty to any charge that reflected any guilt for the death of her child.
He added, “But whether she believes it or not, she killed her child.”
He said she was heavily involved in drugs, she didn’t want her kids around and she knew how impaired Green was, but she left them with him anyway.
Hutchison sentenced Smallwood to one to 10 years for the first count of child neglect and one to three years for the second count, which will be served consecutively, for a total of two to 13 years.
Keller’s motion was granted for Smallwood to register as an abusive parent upon her release from prison.
Hutchison also granted Keller’s motion for a permanent restraining order against Smallwood, meaning she cannot live with or have contact with any of her surviving children.
“If she ever has another child or moves in with someone with another child, she can be prosecuted,” Keller explained. “She cannot have any child under her care.”
As for why the case didn’t go to trial, Keller said guilty pleas are important for finality, especially when small children are involved. With Smallwood’s guilty plea, she will not have a chance for an appeal.
“Any time children are killed or beaten, it breaks everyone’s heart,” Keller said. “Particularly since there are so many good people who would love to have given a good home to those little boys.”
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