Jessica Smith pre-trial: Interview after arrest played

'I feel like a mother rabbit,' she said at one point

A screen grab from a 2014 police interview after Jessica Smith was arrested for allegedly murdering her toddler at a Cannon Beach motel, seen in a pre-trial hearing July 7, 2016 (KOIN)
A screen grab from a 2014 police interview after Jessica Smith was arrested for allegedly murdering her toddler at a Cannon Beach motel, seen in a pre-trial hearing July 7, 2016 (KOIN)

ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) — When Jessica Smith was arrested, she said she understood that the detective “needed to execute her” for allegedly killing her toddler and slashing her teen daughter in a Cannon Beach motel almost 2 years ago.

In the second day of a pre-trial hearing to determine what a jury may see and hear when the murder case against her begins, Detective Ryan Humphrey took the stand to share what he saw.

A screen grab from a 2014 police interview after Jessica Smith was arrested for allegedly murdering her toddler at a Cannon Beach motel, seen in a pre-trial hearing July 7, 2016 (KOIN)
A screen grab from a 2014 police interview after Jessica Smith was arrested for allegedly murdering her toddler at a Cannon Beach motel, seen in a pre-trial hearing July 7, 2016 (KOIN)

Humphrey was among the first to spot Smith on a logging road 4 days after her daughters were found in a room at the Surfsand Motel.

“I very specifically remember her telling me that she understood that I needed to execute her and that she’d prefer it,” Humphrey said.

He added Smith said she’d been trying to starve herself and it wasn’t working.

Her videotaped interview

Smith’s interview with police after her arrest was videotaped. Prosecutors shared part of it in the pre-trial hearing, hoping to use it as evidence in the trial.

“The intention was to drown her and her misery” — Jessica Smith

On tape, a sometimes emotional Smith can be seen telling investigators she’s willing to talk with them because she has nothing to hide.

“I’m so ready to tell someone what I’ve been going through,” she said.

Jessica Smith at her video arraignment in Clatsop County on charges she killed her 2-year-old and tried to kill her 13-year-old daughter, Aug. 12, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Jessica Smith at her video arraignment in Clatsop County on charges she killed her 2-year-old and tried to kill her 13-year-old daughter, Aug. 12, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

At times tearful, at times smiling, Smith shared her state of mind with police days after her daughters were found.

Her 2-year-old daughter, Isabella, was drowned in the room.

“The intention was to drown her and her misery,” Smith said. “She just fell asleep peacefully, went into the water and was gone.”

Later in the interview, she explained to investigators that she chose to live and wondered if her teenage daughter was still alive.

“I feel like a mother rabbit. I need to do something to save my kids.” – Jessica Smith

“Obviously I was out in the woods. I could’ve starved a hundred ways if I wanted to,” Smith said on the tape. “Something told me to hang on because I didn’t know if (the teen) was still alive or not.”

“I feel like a mother rabbit,” she said. “I need to do something to save my kids.”

At that time, Smith was going through a stressful divorce and claimed her teen didn’t want to be around her ex-husband, with whom she shared custody.

Prosecutors hope to prove to Judge Cindee Matyas that all recorded information was done with Smith’s full knowledge and consent.

The first day of the pre-trial

Smith’s attorney, William Falls, tried proving police wrongfully entered the motel room without a warrant.

But prosecutor Josh Marquis said first responders didn’t know a crime had occurred before they entered. They were responding to a motel staffer’s 911 call, so it was treated as a medical emergency. It’s unclear who cut the dead bolt to gain entry.

Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn testified that he entered the room first and saw 2 people laying on the bed. He went on to describe the grisly scene.

The pretrial hearing lasted 2 days. Judge Matyas will consider the main issues raised in the hearing — police entry into the motel room and the statements Smith made after her arrest — and issue a ruling, perhaps in a few weeks. The trial itself won’t happen for another year.

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