DETROIT (FOX 2) - A Detroit man who admitted to police that he killed the mother of a boy who he had dropped off at a fire station was sentenced Tuesday to 15 to 30 years as part of a plea deal.
Robert Autrey was sentenced in Wayne County for second degree murder charge, which he pleaded to guilty in December of 2018 after he finally led police to the body of Nicole Smith.
Nicole had been missing since December 2016 when her then one-year-old son was dropped off at a Detroit fire station. Autrey told officials that little Isaeah was wandering the streets when he found him. The truth finally came out after two years when he led authorities to Nicole's body, which was left in an abandoned building on Detroit's west side.
"I just can't believe that a person would knock someone out and molest their bodies - but that did happen," Conrad Green, Nicole's grandfather, said.
Green is talking about the first time Autrey encountered his granddaughter in 2015. He said she was knocked out and raped in 2015 but the rapist wasn't identified. The man, later identified as Autrey, stalked her on Facebook and ultimately killed her.
That's when he turned up with Izaeah. Nicole's aunt, Dana Smith, said for that, she's grateful.
"I want to thank him for one thing: For saving my nephew, for sparing his life. I do want to thank him for that," she said.
Izaeah is now three and has a loving a family. Nicole's other kids are with other relatives.
Autrey wasn't just sentenced for this murder. He was also sentenced for a home invasion and rape in 2011. She also addressed the court, anonymously.
"I just want him to be punished because he took something from me," the victim said.
Autrey apologized and asked families for forgiveness.
"My heinous actions could have been better. I could have taken a different road," he said. " I want to apologize to Izaeah for taking his mother away from him."
After he made his statement, Autrey was sentenced 15 to 30 years in prison - part of a plea deal he struck in exchange for leading investigators to her body.
"I believe he should have gotten more time for killing my granddaughter but I am pleased with the sentencing in that we got our daughter back and he will be off the street for some time not hurting anybody else," Green said.
"He took my niece/daughter away. I have nothing to say. He's a monster. He is a monster. I have nothing to say. I hope he rots," Dana said.
The family is holding a vigil for Nicole on Saturday night at 7 at Burlingame and Nardin Park, where her body was found last month.