Autumn Breeze Carter (Frye)
March 29, 1998 - September 29, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial

What, if anything,  is an acceptable excuse for raping and killing a six month baby? Ask Steven Smith, who did just that and then later said his intention was not to kill Autumn Frye, but only to rape her.

In April of 1998, Steven Smith and and Keysha Frye began to date. Not long after meeting and dating for short time, Steven moved in with Keysha and her two daughters, Ashley, who was two and Autumn who was six months old. By September, it was obvious to Keysha that Steven had a drinking problem and she asked him to move out. Steven convinced Keysha that he would stopped or had already stopped drinking and she allowed him to move back in, this was around the time Steven lost his job and started taking care of the two little girls while Keysha went to work each day.

September 28 was an ordinary day with Keysha getting home around 2:30 p.m., they ran some errands and then had dinner at a fast food place. At a friends house, Steven had two beers and after leaving, they stopped and he got a 12 pack of beef and drank one in the car. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this does NOT sound like someone who has quit drinking, why was he allowed back into the house at all after Keysha saw that he was drinking?

Getting home around 8:00 p.m., the children were taken care of and were both in bed by 10:30 p.m.. Steven and Keysha stayed up to watch television and he continued to drink beer. Keysha went to bed about 11:00 p.m., leaving Steven down stairs, still drinking beer. On September 29, 1998 at about 3:00 a.m., Steven walked into the bed room and place Autumn, who was naked, next to Keysha on the bed. Keysha noticed that her daughters head was moving around in an odd way and she realized that her child was in serious trouble. Keysha says that Steven said to her "I killed your baby".  Keysha ran to the neighbors house, taking the baby and a her two year old daughter who had been sleeping with her, to get help. It was evident that Steven had raped this precious little girl and caused her to die. Steven was drunk and just laid down, naked, on the bed. 

Responders to the scene saw the baby, covered in bruises and showing obvious signs of having been raped. Police found parts of the diaper Autumn had been wearing, thrown around the room and in the trash outside where they had witnessed Steven throwing away a bag after saying he was leaving,  were at least ten empty beer cans, his t-shirt and parts of the diaper. Steven immediately told police that he hadn't done anything to the baby, adding that he wasn't sick that way. Doctors tried to save Autumn's life for over an hour, but they were not successful.

Steven T. Smith, who was 31 years old at the time, was arrested, tried, found to be guilty and sentenced to death for what he did to Autumn. Steven's lawyer argued that his intention had never been to kill the six month old, only to rape her. I guess in his eyes, that makes it less of a crime that the baby died in unimaginable pain and agony at the hands of drunk man. I do have to ask, why didn't Keysha hear her baby crying and go to find out what was going on?

Steven didn't testify on the advice of his lawyer. Prosecutors in court referred to him as a baby raper as they showed pictures of Autumn's body to the jury saying that her attack lasted up to half an hour while other witnesses for Steven said she probably died within three to five minutes, from suffocation. Steven was was found guilty of aggravated murder and the jury sentenced him to die by lethal injection.

On May 1, 2013, Steven T. Smith, who was by then 46 years old, was executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Lucasville, Ohio. Steven had tried to get his sentence reduced to life in prison and was not successful, the Ohio Parole board as well as Governor John Kasich, were unanimous in their decision to deny his request. For his last meal, Steven had pizza, fried fish, chocolate ice cream and a soda while listening to the Cincinnati Reds, talking to his daughter and mailing letters.

Steven spent his last 25 minutes of life, strapped to the gurney with a needle in his arm. Guards were there at his side and his daughter, 21 year old Brittney watching from behind the glass. Steven had no last words, not even to say  he was sorry for he had done or to tell Brittney that he loved her, though as she cried, she did tell him she loved him. At 10:29 a.m. Steven was pronounced dead.

In a separate area from Brittney was Keysha, Autumn's mother who had also watched as the man who killed her daughter, died:

"I'm glad he's dead and I hope he burns in hell"

Keysha's father, grandfather to Autumn, said that execution had been too good for Steven:

"Because of him Autumn never had a chance to take her first steps, she never had her first
birthday or a first day of school. It's just unfortunate that this man gets to die a peaceful death
after the torture he put Autumn through"

Brittney had never believed her father was guilty and stated that she believed he only plead guilty because he had given up all hope. Joseph Wihelm said that Steven had always felt really bad for what he had done:

"He was well behaved and sober in prison, causing no problems in the institution and living
each day with the guilt and grief he caused by his alcohol fueled crime. While some may
trumpet his execution as appropriate revenge for his crime, Ohio is no safer having executed
Steven Smith than had he lived the remainder of his natural life in prison"

Steven was number 51 of the inmates who had been put to death in Ohio since 1999, which was when Ohio started using execution as a form of punishment again.

While I am against the death penalty, I pray that all of the families involved will some day find peace in what I can only imagine will be the hardest thing they face in their lifetimes.

This page was created on March 16, 2014
Death Occurred in the state of Ohio

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