After 17 years of mission trips and softball and part-time work at a pizza joint, Abbey Hebert was stabbed to death at her Acworth home in 2015.
Olivia Nicole Smith, 21, pleaded guilty Monday to killing her step-cousin. Hebert was a student at Allatoona High School and had recently decided to become a nurse.
The state’s basis of Smith’s 20-year sentence was her allegedly being in a delusional and psychotic state that day caused by smoking marijuana.
The two were described as not only relatives but seemingly close friends; the district attorney’s office referred to the crime as a “bizarre stabbing death.”
Prosecutors said the pair had partied together the night before and Smith spent the night at the Acworth home where Hebert lived with her mother and stepfather.
About 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 14, after they picked up Chick-fil-A breakfast and went to Kroger, Smith went to a neighbor and said “something happened.”
The neighbor called 911.
A witness said they saw Smith on top of Hebert stabbing her in the chest. The witness said the stabbing happened in the front yard, where authorities found Hebert’s body.
A trail of blood led back to the home’s kitchen. There, cops found a knife holder on the floor, two broken chairs, broken glass and dents in the drywall.
Smith told a passerby that she and Hebert had been smoking marijuana on the back porch and that, according to prosecutors, God told her “to kill Abby.”
“It is a cautionary tale, indeed, about the uncertainty and dangers of drug use,” said prosecutor Jesse Evans.
The DA’s spokeswoman said prosecutors do not know if the marijuana was laced and did not mention any other drugs.
Smith met with a psychiatrist 15 times during the two years she has been in custody, and, according to prosecutors, there is no evidence of her having a mental health issue.
“Instead, all evidence suggests her delusional and psychotic state was drug-induced,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release.
Smith was originally charged with felony murder, but her plea deal was for a voluntary manslaughter charge.
“There are absolutely no winners here. This is not a decision made lightly,” Evans said. “We’ve had hours of consultation with family, friends, and the District Attorney, Vic Reynolds, and I believe that even at trial, a conviction for voluntary manslaughter is a likely outcome.”
In other news...
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.