DETROIT – Monday was sentencing day for a woman who killed a mother of six in a hit-and-run back in March on Detroit’s east side.
Shedrica Odessa Smith, 31, who was behind the wheel, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Tiffany Watson-Vance’s family spoke in court Monday (Oct. 3), and while there is justice, in the sense that the person responsible for her death will spend at least 15-40 years behind bars, it still doesn’t heal the family’s hurt.
Watson-Vance’s sister Tabitha Watson spoke about the grief her entire family has been dealing with since March 20.
“This tragedy has changed my whole life,” Watson said. “Me losing my sister, it took a big toll on my nieces and nephews. I just sit and look at their faces and see the hurt that they’re going through.”
Watson-Vance’s last moments, and final act of protecting her 6-year-old son from an enraged driver, was caught on camera as Smith ran her down on Detroit’s east side.
Smith remained primarily silent during Monday’s sentencing. When asked if she had anything to say, she responded “no” to the judge.
Investigators have said there was some kind of a physical altercation on Manning Street in Detroit. Police described Watson-Vance as an onlooker, not directly involved in the fight.
Police say Smith took off in her car at a high rate of speed and, instead of leaving, circled back around before fatally injuring Watson-Vance.
“It’s bold to me and my sisters,” said Watson-Vance’s daughter Gamyia Bubrowski. “We cry every day just thinking about it.”
Two of Tiffany Watson’s daughters gave their victim impact statement over Zoom before the judge handed down Smith’s sentence.
“With that, it is the sentencing of the court that Ms. Smith be sentenced to 15-40 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections,” said Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Donald Knapp.
For Watson, it’s simply not enough.
“I feel she deserves more,” she said.
Smith reportedly had children in her car at the time of the incident. She will get credit for the 192 days she already served behind bars.