Closing arguments in Baby Gabriel fraud case

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by Mike Watkiss

Bio | Email | Follow: @mikewatkiss3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 16 at 12:28 PM

PHOENIX -- The fate of Tammi Smith now rests in the hands of an eight-person Maricopa County jury.

Smith is charged with forgery and conspiracy for her alleged role in the days and weeks leading up to the disappearance of 8-month-old Gabriel Johnson in December 2009.

Prosecutors during the month-long trial have portrayed the 40-year-old Scottsdale resident as a relentlessly meddling and conniving woman obsessed with adopting the child who has come to be known as "Baby Gabriel."

The little boy has not been seen since shortly after Christmas '09 when his mother, Elizabeth Johnson, fled with the boy to Texas.

Smith was not charged with abusing or kidnapping Gabriel, but instead with conspiring with Johnson to sever the parental right's of the child's father, Logan McQuery, so Smith and her husband, Jack, could adopt Gabriel.

Smith is also charged with forging a court document challenging McQuery's paternity.

In her closing argument Tuesday, prosecutor Angela Andrews slammed Smith as a manipulative liar, saying, "The defendant wanted this child for herself. She wanted to make Gabriel Johnson her own and she was going to do that at any cost to Logan McQuery."

During her closing argument, Smith's defense attorney, Ann Phillips, told jurors that her client "was not obsessed" and that "it's not a crime to want to adopt" a child.

Phillips then laid blame on Johnson and on Tempe police, saying Johnson manipulated Smith and that Tempe cops "needed a villain."

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