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MEMORIES OF DROWNINGS TORMENT MOM

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Susan Smith is already serving a sentence of her own creation, tormented by the memory of her sons' deaths, so the fact that she now faces capital murder charges isn't her biggest concern, her lawyer said.

"The prospect of an early death is not what is causing Susan such pain right now. It is life that hurts her," attorney David Bruck said after a grand jury indicted the 23-year-old mother on murder charges Monday.Smith is accused of rolling her car down a boat ramp into a lake on Oct. 25, drowning her two small boys as they lay strapped in their car seats.

The case drew nationwide attention after she claimed that 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex were kidnapped in a car-jacking. She made several tearful appeals on national television for their safe return before confessing nine days later that she had drowned them.

Smith, who was separated from the boys' father, said in her confession that she contemplated suicide before pushing the car into the lake. She said she was depressed after another man told her he was not ready for a family.

Bruck would not comment on Smith's confession or details of the case. He said she spends her days looking at photographs of the boys, praying for them and crying. At night, her sleep is filled with nightmares.

"I think it's fair to say that the full horror of what has happened is bearing down on her now," Bruck said.

A decision on whether to seek the death penalty has been put off until after the holidays out of courtesy to Smith's family, prosecutor Tommy Pope said.