One parent accused of abandoning children previously went to jail for killing wife

One parent accused of abandoning children previously went to jail for killing wife
Sarah Smith (Source: JRLDC)
Sarah Smith (Source: JRLDC)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The parents arrested for reportedly abandoning their children at a Conway healthcare facility earlier this month were released on $25,000 bonds Thursday morning after appearing in court.

The judge said Kiwa Jonathan Davis and Sarah Mae Smith, who are both charged with unlawful neglect of a child, wouldn't be required to pay any money Thursday as long as they show up for their Aug. 24 court date and comply with Department of Social Services requirements.

Both are accused of abandoning their two children, who are each under 2 years old, at Health Care Partners on June 5.

WMBF News dug into records regarding the suspects' criminal backgrounds.

In 1994, Davis pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the shooting death of his wife. He ultimately served less than 14 years of that sentence, according to information from the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Court documents state that on Nov. 6, 1993, Davis fatally shot Tabitha Davis in the face.

The documents say Kiwa Davis was the victim's husband. He told law enforcement he was the shooter and the incident stemmed from a domestic dispute.

Click here to view the full court documents. 

In May 2017, Smith was charged with neglect by a legal custodian after she was accused of giving a sleep aid to a child. That case was ultimately dismissed.

"Prior record, prior convictions, prior charges, we take all of that into account," 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said.

He added his office typically works a month or so behind the police because of how long it takes to get the case file. Once they get the file, they can look through the evidence for the most recent case the two are involved in and see what's best for everyone involved.

"If they're not a flight risk and they're not a danger to the community, the judge usually gives them a personal recognizance bond," Richardson said.

He also said Daniel's Law may come into play, although the children involved were older than the age the law permits.

Daniel's Law aims to protect parents and children, if the child is taken to a safe haven like a hospital, fire station or church. That law only applies to children up to 60 days old.

"We need some time to get the file and make sure there's nothing else there other than a technical violation, in other words the children being too old to apply to Daniel's Law," Richardson said.

Richardson said depending on the circumstances and technicalities of the situation, both suspects could walk away without jail time.

It's still very early in the process, and once the solicitor's office receives the file, they'll be able to determine the best way to handle this particular case.

"Go through all of the facts, figure out what's best for the children, figure out what's best for society, and then we will go with that," Richardson said.

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