A husband convicted of beating his wife to death inside their home has gotten a National forum to speak about the case.
In December, Norman Smart was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Lauren Smart.
She was found that June in the couple’s Wilmington Island home.
Smart had a history of domestic violence charge, some beatings believed to be written about by the victim.
Testimony during the trial featured the lead forensic investigator reading a letter she had found in the trash.
“I feel so empty after he beats me around,” SCMPD APO Michele Schiro read in Lauren’s own words. “So hopeless. What makes him think a grown man should hold a woman down on the ground with their knee on their neck? He never feels threatened by me. I really think he enjoys beating me at this point.”
Norman Smart didn’t take the stand in his own defense during that trial.
But he did speak to MSNBC cameras for their reality show “Lockup Savannah”, filmed inside the Chatham County Jail.
“Her chest caved in,” explained Smart during the show. “I felt her bones like if you were cracking knuckles, thats what it felt like and sounded like.”
Now Lauren Smart’s family is also speaking out themselves about a man they call a “monster”.
“That first time you saw his face on screen what did you think?”
“I almost threw up.” said Kiley Brown Sheppard, Lauren’s Cousin.
“Anybody that can talk about trying to resuscitate their wife without a quivering lip or any emotion at all, there’s something wrong,” continued Sheppard. “She had over 89 injuries. That didn’t happen from falling down that didn’t happen from him trying to resuscitate her. That happened because of what he did to her.”
“To see him so cold and unemotional just reassured us how sick he really is,” said an emotional Sheppard.
“They sentenced me directly after the verdict. And the judge didn’t show my any mercy. He gave me life without parole,” said Smart in his interview for MSNBC.
Sheppard says jail is the best place for the man who killed her cousin.
“She paid the ultimate price for falling in love with a monster,” said Kiley.
Kiley says Lauren was sweet, smart and caring, even helping other victims herself with a call or even a ride.
“But when it came down to it she didn’t call anybody for help. She thought she could handle it herself,” said a tearful Sheppard.
Lauren couldn’t handle it herself, and it cost her life.
“She wouldn’t want anyone’s children to go through what hers did, she wouldn’t want anyone’s family to go through what we are going through now,” said Sheppard. “And thats the only reason i’m continuing to do this. i don’t want it to be about him. When i come to do these interviews, i can hear her telling me if you can help one person get out, then go do it, let them air it, let them talk about it.”
The family doesn’t talk to Lauren’s kids about the crime, or their father, instead focusing on moving forward, together.
“He didn’t destroy them, he did destroy a big part of them, their mother,” said Kiley. “But they are happy and healthy and we will make sure of that, he’ll never see them. He’ll never be able to hurt them again.”
Since the show was taped, Norman Smart was transferred to state prison, and his appeal of his murder conviction was denied.
Lauren Smart’s children are now 7 and 2, living with their aunt and uncle and trying to life a normal life without their mother.
Lauren’s family has started a non-profit organization in her name:
If you are a domestic violence victim yourself or want to help, here are several links to services in our area: