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Ohio executes man who killed, raped 6-month-old

LUCASVILLE, Ohio— One family wept and another family cheered Wednesday as a man was executed for killing a 6-month-old as he raped her.

Steve Smith, 46, was executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Lucasville for the 1998 killing of his live-in girlfriend’s daughter, Autumn Carter, in Mansfield.

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Smith had recently tried to get his sentence reduced to life in prison, arguing that he was too drunk to realize that his assault was killing Autumn, and that he didn’t mean to hurt her. The Ohio Parole Board and Governor John Kasich turned him down.

In the 25 minutes between when Smith walked into the death chamber and when the injection killed him, his only child, 21-year-old Brittney, and his niece sobbed. As the lethal injection began, Smith took several heavy breaths then closed his eyes. He was pronounced dead at 10:29 a.m.

Less than 3 feet away from Brittney but separated by a wall, Autumn’s mother, Kesha Frye, watched quietly. After Smith was dead, Frye’s sister pumped her fists in the air.

‘‘I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope he burns in hell,’’ Frye said.

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