Last Friday was an emotional day for the family of 26-year old Kaycha Smith. Her family stood in the courtroom where the man who was accused of her murder was to be sentenced after entering his plea of guilty. Smith pled to Second Degree Murder and was sentenced by Circuit Judge James J. Goodman. He had previously entered an open plea to the charge with no sentencing agreement in place.
In a release issued by the Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess, it stated, “The State was prepared to prove at trial that on April 27, 2017, the Defendant shot the victim, Kaycha Smith, three times and left her body on the edge of a field in Marianna. Smith was pregnant and claimed the Defendant was the father of the child, and had obtained an injunction for protection against the Defendant two months earlier. The Defendant told his brother that he had killed Ms. Smith, and a third party led investigators to the murder weapon, which was located in a drainage ditch in Panama City. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Bob Sombathy, Chief of Major Crimes, and was investigated by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Chipley Police Department.
Wayne Smith was Kaycha Smith’s father and was very emotional Friday, “The person who brutally took her life, was a convicted felon with a firearm. Those bullets he pumped into her body, taking her life, and the life of her unborn child, leaving her body in a farmless field behind an old warehouse, that day forever changed our lives.”
Smith’s mother did not hold back as she took the stand, telling the Judge that the death penalty was not what she and her family were seeking for O’Neal. Princella White said, “A ruthless coward, a son of Satan, he doesn't deserve to live because he is a threat to any and all living beings, but death, death is too simple for him.”
They want him to feel guilty for what he has done for the rest of his life. White said, “Look at her family, who you have hurt us so bad, but she yet lives on. Your Honor may he spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Judge Goodman agreed that life in prison was only fair for O’Neal after hearing all of the facts in the case.
Smith's family says it's a bitter sweet day, but overall, they're pleased with the outcome.
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