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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Retaliation after learning that her husband was having an affair with her daughter from a previous marriage
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: May 24, 2012
Date of arrest: Same day (suicide attempt)
Date of birth: 1971
Victims profile: Her 18-month-old twins, Adam and Eve
Method of murder: Drowning - Suffocation
Location: Tacony, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on January 6, 2014

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Tacony woman gets life in prison for murdering her twins

By Mensah M. Dean -

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

STACEY Newkirk-Smalls, the Tacony mother charged with the May 2012 murders of her 18-month-old twins, Adam and Eve, was convicted yesterday and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The verdict and sentence were handed down by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart following a one-day nonjury trial.

Newkirk-Smalls, 42, was convicted of third-degree murder in both deaths. Minehart sentenced her to 20 to 40 years in prison for one murder and to life for the other because having two murder convictions automatically triggers a life sentence under state law.

Police and prosecutors said that on May 24, 2012, Newkirk-Smalls poisoned both twins before drowning one and suffocating the other at the Ditman Street home she shared with her husband, who worked as a city correctional officer at the time.

Newkirk-Smalls' mother, Yvonne Newkirk, and other relatives and friends emerged from the courtroom proclaiming their love and support for the imprisoned woman.

The former licensed practical nurse who once doted on her twins snapped and killed them after learning that her husband was having an affair with her adult daughter from another relationship, Newkirk-Smalls' relatives and friends said.

"She loved her children dearly. Whenever you saw her, she was talking about the children, she was smiling at them. She had nothing but good things to say. But what happens when an ultimate betrayal happens?" said C. Chekejai Coley, one of Newkirk-Smalls' best friends.

"Stacey, your family is with you. We love you," Yvonne Newkirk said. "We want you to know that we are here to support you."


Mother who killed her twins sentenced to life in prison

By Aubrey Whelan - The Inquirer

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TACONY Stacey Newkirk, the Tacony woman charged with murdering her 1-year-old twins last year, was convicted of two counts of third-degree murder Monday afternoon and sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors said the 42-year-old Newkirk poisoned her children in a rage after learning that her husband, Ron Smalls, was having an affair with her daughter from a previous marriage.

Newkirk was arrested last May after Smalls found the couple's twins, Adam and Eve, dead at their Ditman Street home.

At Monday's bench trial, with Judge Jeffrey Minehart presiding, Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim said Newkirk left notes detailing the crime near the children's bodies and admitted to police that she poisoned the children with sleeping pills. She told police that she drowned one of the twins and smothered the other.

One of the notes, Lim said, was addressed to her husband.

"I hope this makes you feel 1/1,000th of the pain I feel," it read.

Newkirk's attorneys, public defenders Fred Goodman and David Stevenson, did not contest the evidence but asked that Minehart convict their client of third-degree murder instead of first-degree murder.

Newkirk was found not guilty of a third charge: the attempted murder of her 4-year-old daughter, Stacey.

The prosecution had contended that Newkirk tried to poison the girl, but her attorneys said a toxicology screening showed no evidence of poison in the girl's system.

Newkirk was sentenced to life in prison for one count of third-degree murder and 20 to 40 years in prison for the second third-degree murder count. Both sentences will run concurrently.

If Newkirk had not waived her right to a jury trial, Lim said, she would have faced the death penalty.

Newkirk did not speak during the brief trial, although she waved to family members seated in the courtroom before proceedings began and cried quietly after her sentence was imposed.

Her attorneys declined to comment after the trial, but told Minehart she was "extraordinarily remorseful" over the crime.


When parents kill: A look at what leads to such horrific acts

BY Mensah M. Dean -

December 07, 2012

WHEN IT CAME to being a mother, Stacey Newkirk-Smalls was a supermom, say those who know her best.

The licensed-practical nurse taught her 18-month-old twins - Adam and Eve - a form of sign language so she could communicate with them before they learned to talk, recalled Newkirk-Smalls' mother, Yvonne Newkirk.

Newkirk-Smalls, 41, of Tacony, bought a membership at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum to expose the twins regularly to enrichment activities, Newkirk said. She enrolled another daughter, Stacey, now 5, in ballet classes.

"The kids were her life," gushed Newkirk, 57, seated at the dining-room table in her West Philadelphia home, scrolling through family photos. "If she went out to dinner with friends, she would take them with her. I mean, they just were her life."

Their lives ended violently on May 24, less than two weeks after Mother's Day.

City police and prosecutors contend that Newkirk-Smalls murdered the twins by poisoning both, then drowning one and suffocating the other.

Authorities say she also tried to poison Stacey, who survived and was unharmed.

Unless exonerated at trial, Newkirk-Smalls will join the nation's growing rogues' gallery of murderous parents who include Andrea Yates, the Houston mother who drowned her five children in the family bathtub in 2001; Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who intentionally drove her car into a lake, drowning her two sons, in 1994; and Marie Noe, the Philadelphia mother who confessed to killing eight of her children over a 19-year period.

Just last month, Chanthy Mao, of South Philadelphia, accepted a negotiated guilty plea for fatally stabbing her daughter, 12, and son, 8, on Aug. 31, 2011.

Mao, 28, a mentally ill Cambodian immigrant, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in state prison.

About 250 to 300 children are slain by their parents each year in the U.S., crime experts estimate.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 63 percent of all children under age 5 who were slain from 1980 through 2008 were killed by a parent.

Although every case is unique, experts say that most parents who kill their children are driven by a group of defined motives.

Phillip Resnick, an internationally known forensic psychiatrist and leading expert on parents who kill their children, identified five leading causes for these killings.

* Altruism: Committed by a parent who believes the child would be better off dead.

* Acute psychosis: Committed by a mentally ill parent.

* Unwanted child: Committed by a parent who perceives the child as a hindrance or who would benefit from the child's death.

* Accidental: When a parent unintentionally kills a child during abuse.

* Spousal revenge: Committed by a parent seeking to hurt a spouse due to infidelity or some other grievance.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti, who is handling Newkirk-Smalls' case, said such killings strike all segments of the community.

"These things have no social or economic boundaries," he said. "In this case, it's really a very sad set of circumstances that led to the deaths of these children."

The authorities said Newkirk-Smalls confessed to the crimes when police arrived at her Tacony home on Ditman Street after being summoned by her husband, Ron Smalls, who was employed as a city correctional officer at the time.

Newkirk-Smalls' public defense attorneys, Daniel Stevenson and Fred Goodman, declined to comment or permit her to be interviewed. She has pleaded not guilty.

Cipolletti said his office has given notice to Common Pleas Court that it reserves the right to seek a death sentence against Newkirk-Smalls, whom he said is the only suspect in the slayings.

Newkirk-Smalls' mother insists that she was not suicidal, depressed or mentally ill.

But two weeks before the slayings, Newkirk said, Newkirk-Smalls was hit by a bombshell: She learned that her husband was having an affair with a family member.

"I want the truth to come out, that's all that I want," Newkirk said. "I suspect my daughter didn't do it."

Ron Smalls, in an interview, said he was in therapy and therefore would not discuss Newkirk-Smalls' claim that he was having an affair with his wife's daughter from another relationship.

He has custody of the couple's surviving daughter, Stacey, and said he plans to divorce his wife.

Cipolletti declined to speculate on the motive that led Newkirk-Smalls to allegedly kill her twins and try to poison her 5-year-old daughter.

"I just think it was a well-thought-out, well-planned-out, premeditated act," he said.

Newkirk-Smalls, herself a former correctional officer before becoming a nurse, is locked up at Riverside Correctional Facility on State Road.


Mom Accused of Killing Twins Appears in Court

The Tacony mother who allegedly killed her twins in an attempted murder-suicide appeared in court this morning for a formal arraignment.

By Dan Stamm, Lauren DiSanto and David Chang /

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Tacony mother who allegedly killed her twins in an attempted murder-suicide appeared in court this morning for a formal arraignment.

Last May, Stacey Newkirk, 41, attempted to commit suicide by slitting her own wrists after she allegedly killed her 1-1/2-year-old son Adam and the boy's twin sister Eve -- drowning one and strangling the other, Philadelphia Police said.

Police sources tell NBC10 that Newkirk left four notes explaining that she hurt the children because she was apparently upset after finding out on Mother's Day that her husband, Ron Smalls, was allegedly having an affair with Stacey's daughter from another relationship.

"She had something that she felt was justification but there is no justification... it’s a tragedy two young babies dead and there is no excuse for that," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told NBC10.

"Stacey Smalls was transported into the homicide unit and was arrested and charged with two counts of murder," police Capt. James Clark said.

Neighbors said that the father came home on the afternoon of May 24 and called 911. His twin children were dead, his 4-year-old daughter was poisoned and his wife had slit her wrists, cops said.

Newkirk was taken to Frankford Hospital while the 4-year-old girl was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital where she was treated and released, police said.

Ron Smalls told NBC10 he would live with the incident for the rest of his life and asked for privacy.

"He's not talking to us and he's being very distant from us," said Ball. "We wish that he would talk so we could bring some closure."

Newkirk arrived in court for a formal arraignment today at 11 a.m. She faces murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.


Mom accused of killing twins being held without bail


Tuesday, May 29, 2012 -

TACONY - May 29, 2012 (WPVI) -- Police say the mother charged in the death of her twin toddlers and the poisoning of their 4-year-old sister is being held without bail.

Stacey Newkirk-Smalls is charged with two counts of Murder, Attempted Murder, Aggravated Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and related offenses.

On Thursday, May 24, 2012, the bodies of infant twins Adam and Eve Smalls were brought out of the home on the 6300 block of Ditman Street in Tacony.

The scene unfolded about 4:00 p.m. when Ron Smalls, a corrections officer at Curran Fromhold, made frantic calls to 9-1-1 saying he had just returned home and his wife, had killed their babies and tried to poison their 4-year-old daughter.

Sources tell Action News that 41-year-old Stacey Newkirk-Smalls confessed to killing her children and trying to kill her older daughter.

"That female tells the officer that, 'I harmed my babies!' Upstairs in the front bedroom we find two infants, twins, a year and a half old, both deceased," Philadelphia police Lt. Ray Evers said.

Police say the mother smothered one child and then drowned the other. An attempt to poison the 4-year-old had failed.

Authorities say that Stacey also attempted to kill herself by taking pills and cutting her wrists.

The 4-year-old child was taken to St. Christopher's Hospital in good and stable condition and Stacey was also hospitalized overnight.

In a brief interview with Action News reporter Vernon Odom, Ron Smalls said he had a phone conversation with his wife Thursday before the incident.

"She didn't sound inclination that it would come to this," he said.

Police have not said what the motive may be, but sources say there were recent signs of trouble within the Smalls' marriage.

When asked about the alleged marital tension between the two, Ron said, "We've had some problems...I'd suggested therapy for both of us. She didn't think it was important."

Sources say Stacy left behind what was supposed to be a suicide note indicating she was upset with her husband for allegedly having an affair with a family member.

As far as what the future holds, "I'll speak to her at some point but not now, maybe not ever," said Ron.

Stacey remains on suicide watch in police custody.


Murder Charges Filed Against Tacony Mother For Twins’ Death

By Tony Hanson, Dray Clark, Steve Beck and Dianna Rocco -

May 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Investigators believe a Philadelphia woman killed her twin babies and attempted to kill her young daughter and then herself because she thought the children’s father was having an affair with a family member.

Authorities charged Stacey Smalls, 41, with two counts of 1st degree murder Friday afternoon for the deaths of her 18-month-old twins, a boy and a girl. Police believe Smalls strangled the one twin and drowned the other. Authorities are awaiting autopsy results for the official cause of death.

The horrific discovery was made Thursday afternoon inside a home in the 6300 block of Ditman Street in the city’s Tacony section.

In addition, police say she gave her four-year-old daughter some type of substance to drink in a suspected attempt to take her life.

The four-year-old was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children where she is listed in stable but guarded condition.

Police say Smalls, who neighbors say worked as a nurse at an area hospital, then attempted to take her own life by cutting her wrists. She remains in the hospital.

Police sources say Smalls left a note at the home addressed to the children’s father letting him know that she did what she is accused of doing because she learned that he was allegedly having an affair with a family member. Police say the father is the one who made the discovery and called 911.

Police questioned him earlier Friday. The father has asked for his privacy as a memorial to the children grows outside the house. Friends and coworkers have stopped by to show support.

Philadelphia homicide detectives are investigating.



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