The mother of a murdered Dallas 11-year-old is reflecting on her murder 12 years ago as a court again delays the execution of the man who killed her.
In May of 2005, Steven Long sexually assaulted and strangled an 11-year-old girl. Her body was put into a trash bag and dumped.
Long was set to be executed for Kaitlyn Smith's murder next week, but a court ruling delayed it.
Kaitlyn Smith's mother, Shelly Grant, has not spoken publicly about her daughter's case since Long was convicted. She says she's angry Long seems to be getting care and attention while her daughter is no longer here.
“She had so much left in life that was taken away from her,” Grant said.
Kaitlyn was 11 years old when she went across the street for a sleepover with a neighbor girl in 2005. By morning, she was missing. Her grandfather found her body in a trash bag under an empty mobile home nearby in Southeast Dallas.
Long had just moved in with the neighbor girl's family. His bloody fingerprint was found near her body.
Grant says Long pretended to help search for her daughter and then confessed to raping, strangling and murdering her later that day. He blamed his actions on his alter ego, "Pretty Boy.” He was convicted and in October 2006 and was sentenced to die. His execution was scheduled for next week.
“I just want her face out there,” Grant said. “I want people to know that she was somebody and she was somebody important.”
But on Monday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stopped Long's execution amid claims from his attorney that he's intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.
“I think anybody that can do what he did, it doesn't matter,” Grant said. “They need to die.”
It could be a while before Long has a new execution date due to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in March. It struck down Texas' standard for evaluating intellectual disability in death penalty cases, saying the way Texas did that diagnosis could result in cruel and unusual punishment. New standards have not been set.
Grant feels like her daughter has been lost in Long's 12-year legal fight with no end in sight.