Lehigh Acres Daycare Owner Gets
Eight Months For Toddler Drowning
A judge has sentenced Melissa Smith, the woman convicted of negligence in the death of 2-year-old Christian Byrd, to eight months in the county jail and five years’ probation. Smith must also pay a fine of $3,000 and court costs of $413.
The judge told the family this is one of the most difficult cases of his career, but said he could not give Smith the maximum sentence.
“We have a woman who is a pretty good person who made a big mistake, and there is someone on the other side who is grieving horribly, and I understand their grief, so it is tough,” said Smith’s attorney, Rob Harris.
On the three misdemeanor charges of culpable negligence, Smith will spend 60 days in jail for those, as well. The defense says she will most likely be out around Christmas.
Smith was in jail during her trial, the judge says time served will go towards the eight-month sentence.
Byrd drowned in a pool under Smith’s supervision in July 2013.