Smithey told the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency that a letter of forgiveness from her victim's mother, sent 19 years after the murder, inspired her to turn her life around.
"If she could do that, it was my responsibility to try and become a better person than I was and ever since I received that letter, I started slowly turning things around," Smithey said during hearing, according to KSDK.
Andy Silverman, Smithey's attorney, says his client is "absolutely not a threat to society" and has battled breast cancer and a "myriad of other health issues."
"She's almost 70 years old now," Silverman said, according to ABC News. "She's done a lot of reflection. Forty-nine years in prison, you think a lot about what you've been through."
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