Your son kills his kid brother. What do you do? Stand by him (ie the murderer) of course.
This story is so tragic I really have no comments. All I know is this woman has been stuck with the most difficult situation any parent would ever have to face and she is doing what she can to keep afloat. I hope for her sake that when all the dust settles, it would be found that it was maybe an accidental death and not really murder. That might help a little.
‘I love him, and I’m going to stand behind him no matter what,’ Shawna Smith said of Skylor Atilano, who was charged after Terry’s body was found buried in their Menifee, Calif., backyard.
BY NINA GOLGOWSKI / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The mother of an 11-year-old boy found buried in her backyard three days after he was reported missing says she is standing behind her oldest son who’s now charged with his murder.
In Shawna Smith’s first interview since the body of her youngest son, Terry Dewayne Smith, was found in a shallow grave behind her Menifee, Calif., home, she says she’ll stand behind her 16-year-old son no matter what.
“I’m not going to say he’s innocent, but I’m not going to say he’s guilty either,” she told NBC4 Wednesday afternoon, two weeks after Terry Jr.’s body was found. “I love him, and I’m going to stand behind him no matter what.”
Terry’s body was discovered in a shallow grave on July 10, three days after he was reported missing.
Since the missing boy’s tragic discovery on July 10, she has remained in hiding, speaking to NBC only from the other side of her home’s front gate.
The mother of three says she’s been receiving death threats and accusations that she was somehow involved in her son’s murder despite taking a polygraph test and being cleared by police.
Skylor Atilano, 16, has been charged with the murder of his stepbrother. Prosecutors want to try him as an adult.
“I have nothing to do with this,” she said. “If I knew my son was here buried somewhere, I’d be like ‘He’s over there; go get him!’”
Left childless by the murder investigation and child protective services’ decision to take her 14-year-old daughter, she says her heart is breaking in every direction.
“My kids were my life. They still are. I love all three of them,” she said.
Terry’s father, Terry Smith Sr., pictured with his son here, said the boy feared his older stepbrother and had asked to come live with him in West Virginia just before he died
Skylor Atilano, Terry Jr.’s stepbrother, appeared in court last week and was charged with his murder.
Menifee police said Atilano was the last to see his brother and that his death was the result of a domestic issue at the dusty desert home.
Skylor Atilano, 16, has been charged with the murder of his brother, 11-year-old Terry Smith, after his body was found buried in the backyard of their Menifee home three weeks ago.
The teen’s personal Facebook page, since taken down, showed that he aided in the massive search for the 11-year-old, posting a photo of him asking for the public’s help.
“Everyone please share this. This is my little brother. He is missing. Cops can’t find him helicopters looking they had bloodhounds also. He must be found please this is NOT a joke,” he wrote.
A judge will decide in September if Riverside County District prosecutors can try the 16-year-old as an adult.
Investigators are seen digging behind the Menifee, Calif., home where the boy’s body was found.
If convicted as an adult, he could face life in prison. If convicted as a juvenile, he could be jailed until he turns 23.
Terry Jr.’s father, a truck driver living in West Virginia, where his son used to live with him, said the 16-year-old’s arrest didn’t come as surprise to him.
Prosecutors say they want to charge Atilano as an adult. If he’s convicted as an adult he could face life in prison.
He accused the teen of having anger issues and said his son feared him. He had asked to come live with him in West Virginia just before his death.
Adding weight to the public’s suspicion of Shawna Smith, he said after the body was found: “I don’t think that Terry Junior ended up under that tree just by Skylor.”
Terry Smith Sr. also denies his son was autistic, as his mother says.
“Nope, nope, nope,” he previously told reporters when asked. “In fact, when everyone in West Virginia heard that; they all flipped because they know better. He was a hyper little boy. He might have had ADHD.”
A former teacher of Terry Jr.’s supported that statement to ABC7.
“I know it’s going to be a bit of a shock to people to hear this, but no, he was not autistic,” Jenny Smith said.
She acknowledged his family and the school district disagreed on his condition.