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Mom Found Guilty In Sellwood Bridge Killing
by Aubra Salt - The Oregon Herald
  Wednesday April 14, 2010 - 11:01 AM
 
PORTLAND, Oregon -- Amanda Stott-Smith changed her plea and confessed to the killing in a Multnomah County courtroom. She pleaded guilty yesterday to killing her 4-year-old son and attempting to murder her 7-year-old daughter by forcing both off the Sellwood Bridge. Stott-Smith showed little emotion while changing her plea. David Haag, who rescued Stott-Smith's daughter, said continues to replay the night of May 23, 2009, when the two children plunged into the Willamette River. "There's never a day that goes by that I don't think about it," he said. Haag, who lives near the Sellwood Bridge, heard the screams of Stott-Smith's children in the river. "The sounds coming from the river -- they were moving down the river," he said. "I figured maybe it was an animal floating down the river. That was my first thought. When we came upon kids in the river, it was a shock."

After seeing police activity, he and his wife jumped into their boat and found the children despite total darkness. Haag said he pulled the children into their boat and then headed for a nearby dock. "The boy was gone, but the girl was in reasonably good shape," Haag said. Haag said he has stayed in contact with the rescued 7-year-old girl, named Trinity.

He said he's glad Stott-Smith changed her plea to guilty so Trinity would not have to testify. "I've never met (Stott-Smith), I've just seen pictures here and there," Haag said. "I don't think much of her. She's got a smug look on her face and I think she's going to get what she deserves." The terms of Stott-Smith's plea deal will avoid the possibility of the death penalty. She will spend at least 35 years in prison before she is permitted to apply for release. Her formal sentencing will be next week.

As the case nears its completion, Haag said the events of the rescue gets pushed "a little further in the back of my mind." "I'm glad we were there that night," Haag said. "It could have turned out a lot worse."

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