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Clay Co. woman denied bond on capital murder charge

 

Sarah Fowler

 

WEST POINT -- The Clay County woman accused of giving her two-month-old a fatal dose of cough syrup has been denied bond. 

 

Britannia Smith appeared in Clay County Circuit Court Wednesday and asked Judge Lee Howard to set a bond. Smith's attorney, Jim Waide, based the request on a medical condition. Smith has back surgery scheduled in Jackson next week and is in increasing pain, Waide said. 

 

However, Howard said he could not set bond based because Smith has an upcoming probation revocation hearing. 

 

Smith, who was on probation for an uttering forgery charge at the time of her April arrest, will appear before Judge Jim Kitchens on July 16 for that hearing. When Smith was arrested on the capital murder charge, a probation revocation hearing was automatically set. If Kitchens revokes her probation, Waide said he would ask for a September trail. 

 

"If he revokes her probation, bond is a moot point," Waide said Thursday. 

 

Waide said he is asking for a Sept. 22 trial date but he has prior commitments that conflict with the date so he is asking other judges to grant a continuance on those cases. If he cannot get a September trial date, Waide said he will ask for a January trial date. 

 

While capital murder trials are generally not presented so soon after an arrest, Waide said it's necessary in Smith's case. 

 

"It's important because jail conditions are very difficult on her," he said. "She has physical problems and she has her other two children in the custody of their fathers. Although the sheriff is doing everything he can to give her the medical treatment she needs, jail is very hard on her." 

 

Smith was arrested in early April after an autopsy conducted by the Mississippi Crime Lab concluded that she gave her 2-month-old son, Brinston, a fatal dose of cough syrup that contained codeine. The child died in December. The codeine used in the incident was obtained through a prescription but authorities have declined to release whose name was on the prescription.

 

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.

 

 

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