It's the first time the State of California has given a convict an intelligence test, and found him not smart enough to be put to death.

Meanwhile, the story of George Hatton Smithey had been lingering in the hills of Calaveras County like an echo from a bad dream. Smithey had killed and robbed to feed a methamphetamine addiction. And the family of his victim was worried they'd never get closure. Their concerns only grew stronger when Smithey was found to be mentally incompetent to be subjected to execution.

But the final chapter would be written by George Smithey himself.

After 22 years, SMithey has finished the job that the State of California wouldn't.

"The Judge sentenced him… and he, Smithey, turned to me and said 'this ain't the end of this.' But I guess it is," said Glenda Hampton. She is the same age of Smithey, and the mother of his victim. She's quick to show you a picture of her daughter Cheryl… at about age five, she guesses, judging by the missing front tooth.

Cheryl two kids of her own by the time Smithey robbed, raped, and fatally stabbed her.

"It' wasn't for revenge that I wanted the death penalty,' says Hampton. "It's just… she was our only daughter. And her two kids were right there. And you know what was a terrible thing too? He had name for the knife he used on my daughter. He called it 'Old Babe.'"

Despite excruciating detail like that, Glenda Hampton went to every hearing, including the one in 1989 when Smithey waas sentenced to San Quentin's death row. She was also there for the hearing last Monday, when Smithey's learned that he'd be leaving death row.

His sentence had been commuted to life in prison. Saturday, Smithey tied his bed sheets together, and hanged himself from the abrs of the cell where he'd spent 20 years of his life in isolation.

"I think it's God's justice. He has final say," said Hampton. "You can only go along so many years with that and not be remorseful."

There was no suicide note. That last thing we hear from Smithey is 7 years ago, on the internet he posts an add looking for a pen-pal, or "pen-friend" as he calls it.

"After twenty years on Death row, it truly! [sic] does get lonely," Smithey writes.

Hampton believes Smithey feared his life could have been harder if he had been put in a prison's general population. The State of California Department of Corrections hadn't yet decided where they would place Smithey, so Smithey wouldn't have known either by the time he died.

But corrections officials say, in all likelihood, he would have been placed in general population.