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Rejected For Early Release: Woman Who Put Daughter In 600-Degree Oven
The Alabama woman who put her 14-month old daughter in a hot oven has been denied parole.
Alabama’s parole board rejected an early release for 40-year-old Melissa Wright at a hearing on Tuesday, Elmore County District Attorney Randall Houston tells PEOPLE.
She will continue to serve out her 25-year sentence behind bars, Houston says.
Wright, of Millbrook, pleaded guilty in 2003 to placing her then 14-month old daughter, Ashley Smith, in a hot oven at their Elmore County home. Wright was thought to have been suffering from mental illness at the time.
“Evidence showed that Melissa removed the racks out of the oven, turned it to broil and waited for it to heat up and then put her head first into that oven,” Houston said at the hearing, according to NBC affiliate WSFA.
It is estimated that the oven was over 600-degrees when Melissa put her daughter in. It’s unclear how long the baby was inside before she was pulled out by her father.
Smith, who suffered serious injuries, is now 15, and has undergone 28 surgeries as a result of the incident.
Smith’s older sister, Courtney Brunson, has been asking for the court to release her mother;
“I was only 8-years-old when it happened, she was different,” Brunson said, according to WSFA.
“I saw what happened. I know how she was. She was not herself.”
But Smith requested that the court keep her mother behind bars, and mentioned her 8-year-old niece and 27-month-old nephew in her statement, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
“They are about the same ages as me and Courtney when this happened. I honestly do not trust her and I’m afraid for their safety,” Smith said of the children during the hearing.
“I can’t imagine anybody being in as much pain as I was in. And now I have a great life thanks to my mom, stepdad and brothers and sisters,” she added.
Since the incident, Smith has lived with her aunt, who she now calls her mother