Tammi Smith's sister attempted to murder baby

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 8 at 10:44 PM

PHOENIX --  She's been protrayed as a woman so desperate to have a child, she would do anytyhing, even arrange the illegal adoption of now missing baby Gabriel Johnson.

Tammi Smith is on trial accused of forgery and conspiracy. 3TV has uncovered disturbing details about Smith's biological sister, Billie Jo Peters.

According to Phoenix Police Detective Greg McKay, "It initially began with a 911 call from frantic neighbors."

On June 14, 2002 inside apartment number 1096, Peters, who shows a striking resemblance to her biological sister Tammi Smith, was on a horrifying mission.

McKay explains, "She put some water in the tub, a few inches of water in the tub to help with the mess, the way she put it, and she strapped her baby into an infant carrier seat and she laid with him in the tub and she cut him first and then herself."

The two month old baby was rushed to St. Joe's Hospital and immediately taken into emergency surgery. As McKay remembers the injuries were severe. "One major artery wound to the arm, which pretty much cut through to bone, leaving the child's arm, basically, hardly attached."

The baby survived and Phoenix Police Detective Greg McKay was assigned the case. Turns out Peters was no stranger to law enforcement with arrests in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

As for her motive in the 2002 attempted murder at the Pine Crest Apartments, McKay says, "Billie Jo Peters accused her own mother of having an affair with her boyfriend the night of this attack on her son and trying to take her own life."

Peters confessed and didn't show any remorse according to McKay. "She felt that she was doing him a service, by taking him to heaven, taking herself to heaven, [to] be with Jesus in her words."

When McKay interviewed Peters family members, he learned that the 26-year old had been battling demons for years. "It seemed like troubled life mental health wise onset at about 15 years of age. Mental health issues, bipolar disorder which was followed up by a diagnosis of schizophrenia at about 17."

Court records show Peters was charged with Attempted First Degree Murder and Child Abuse and found Guilty but Insane.

Rather than serve time, Peters was sentenced to the Arizona State Hospital where she remains today.

Even 10 years later, Detective McKay will never forget her. "Her affect, her way of talking, her general appareance, she's a very sick person in my opinion obviously from what she did."

The baby was turned over to Child Protective Services. He was eventually adopted but not to Tammi Smith or anyone else in the family.

 

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