A Newberry woman was convicted of murder and desecration of human remains during the weekend, according to a news release Monday afternoon from the 8th Circuit Solicitor's Office.
Following a weeklong trial, a Newberry County jury deliberated for five hours before finding 35-year-old Mary Lenore Smith guilty on both counts.
The verdict was rendered about 1 a.m. Saturday. Circuit Court Judge Knox McMahon sentenced Smith to 50 years in prison Monday afternoon in a Laurens County courtroom, the solicitor's office said.
Her conviction stemmed from the murder of her longtime paramour John Henry Mayers, who was found dead deep in the Sumter National Forest near Whitmire following a three-week search in May 2011.
An autopsy revealed he died of two gunshot wounds to the chest. Smith initially admitted to investigators she shot Mayers to protect herself. Newberry County records indicated she had a restraining order set against the Chapin man five days before his family reported him missing.
Smith later recanted that story and implicated her alleged accomplice as the shooter. She admitted to dismembering Mayers' head days after the incident, placing it in a five-gallon bucket and throwing it into the Enoree River. Newberry County authorities recovered the man's remains from the river.