MARIETTA — Nick Smith, who was just five years old on Oct. 23, 1995 when he was stabbed 18 times in his east Cobb home by an attacker who also killed Nick’s mother, was the only witness at Monday’s sentencing hearing of the convicted attacker, Waseem Daker.
“For the first time, I finally can hopefully start moving on from being a sad, scared little boy. When Waseem Daker took my mother’s life, my life was put on hold, and in my eyes, it’s always been in his hands,” Nick Smith said, reading from a prepared statement. “Nothing will ever bring back my mother. I will always be branded, his rage on my chest. But maybe I can start anew. No longer will someone other than me control my life and enter my thoughts. He’s finally caught, and I’m finally free. I love you, mom.”
Family and friends of Nick Smith, his mother, Karmen Smith, and Loretta “Lottie” Spencer Blatz packed Judge Mary Staley’s courtroom Monday morning. Six jurors also returned to court for the hearing.
Daker, who on Friday had asked that sentencing be delayed to give him time to get witnesses to court, had no supporters in the courtroom. He acted as his own attorney throughout the trial.
“I did not kill Karmen Smith. I did not stab Nick Smith,” Daker said, this time wearing shackles and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit. “I hope one day the truth comes out, because this is not it.”
After lead prosecutor Jesse Evans argued Daker should get the maximum sentence possible — life plus 47 and a half years — in part because of his future dangerousness, it was Judge Staley’s turn.
“Oct. 23, 1995 was an evil day because of an evil man acting on evil instincts,” she said.
“I think you’re dangerous in prison, and I think, given the chance, you would do untold evil. I see that as what you are,” Staley said, in granting the maximum sentence. “I hope you never leave prison. Ever. That would be just.”
When Daker refused to sign the paperwork sentencing him for the malice murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault of Karmen Smith; burglary; aggravated battery on Nick Smith; and criminal intent to commit aggravated stalking of Spencer Blatz, Staley said: “That’s typical of a coward. That’s what you are: A coward.”
Through June, the circuit defender’s office had spent about $36,000 on Daker’s defense, though the office initially rejected Daker as indigent because it believed he was hiding assets, including a home and a large money-market account. A different judge ordered the office to provide Daker with counsel.
Staley on Monday said Daker has “manipulated and abused” his court-appointed counsel, and directed the circuit defender’s office “to take whatever steps necessary to recover attorney fees that taxpayers have expended on your behalf.”
In 1996, when Daker was convicted of aggravated stalking of Spencer Blatz, he had dozens of supporters in the courtroom, and 10 people testified on his behalf.