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Man who raped and killed baby seeks mercy

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 2 (UPI) — Lawyers for an Ohio man facing execution for raping and killing his girlfriend’s baby daughter in 1998 asked the state parole board Tuesday to spare his life.

Steven Smith is scheduled to be put to death May 1 for the murder of 6-month-old Autumn Carter. Once the parole board makes a recommendation for or against clemency, Gov. John Kasich will make the final decision, the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal reported.

The board is expected to announce its decision in about a week.

Smith, who was then 31, and Kesha Frye, Autumn’s mother, were living together in a Mansfield apartment when the baby was killed. Frye, now 35, said she woke to find her daughter’s body.

Eleven people were scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s hearing and five to address the board by video. Smith, now being held at Ohio State Penitentiary, was not present.

Smith’s lawyers were expected to argue as they did during his 1999 trial that he was too drunk to form the intent to kill Autumn. But Richland County Prosecutor James Mayer Jr. said the injuries inflicted on the baby suggested Smith spent 10 minutes killing her.

Mayer called the killing “the most horrific crime I have prosecuted in 25 years.”

Frye said she is still haunted by what happened to her daughter.

“I want him to die,” she said of Smith.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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