A family is trying to put the pieces back together after the final chapter of a six-year ordeal that finally culminated in this week’s execution of a man who murdered two of its members. John Clayton Smith was executed Wednesday morning for the July, 1997, murders of his ex-girlfriend Brandi Kearns and her step-father Wayne Hoewing in their home near Canton in northeast Missouri. Bridie Brooks admits the death of her sister might be more than what her niece, seven-year-old Tatum can totally conceive in her young mind. Brooks says she draws great strength from young Tatum, although she says is still bitter at the man who killed her sister and step-father, even after he has been executed.
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