Smiths indicted on child sexual abuse case

Published 2:30 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017

A grand jury has indicted Jonathan Smith, 33, and Michelle Smith, 30, on charges of attempted murder, aggravated child abuse, sexual torture, domestic violence and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.

A Butler County couple has been indicted nearly three months after what authorities considered one of the worst cases they’ve ever seen.

A grand jury issued 33-year-old Jonathan Smith and his wife, 30-year-old Michelle Smith, indictments on charges of attempted murder, aggravated child abuse (family), sexual torture, domestic violence and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.

On Dec. 19, 2016, the Smiths were charged following an investigation that stemmed from a call received that night.

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Deputies were dispatched to a home in the Greenmore community, located in the southern reaches of Butler County near Chapman, in reference to a medical emergency.

Officials discovered two children, a brother and a sister, who were severely beaten. The siblings were then rushed to L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital in Greenville, and then transported to Children’s of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham for further treatment.

Additional charges were added later that week as a result of the ongoing investigation, including two counts each of attempted murder and first-degree domestic assault.

Due to the nature of the case, officials have not released additional information regarding the extent of the children’s injuries, or the means by which they were inflicted.

Butler County district attorney Charlotte Tesmer said that the physical and sexual abuse that occurred inside the Smiths’ home took place over several hours, though the husband and wife didn’t seek medical attention for the victims until the following day.

“It’s a difficult case,” Tesmer said.

“The children are still having to go through medical treatment. They’re living with family members and healing and going through the healing process.

“It’s a serious case. Of course, they are innocent until proven guilty, but the torture that these children went through was horrible.”

Tesmer added that, given the severity of the case, it has taken a toll on all involved in the past three months.

“Anybody that’s been touched by this case has had a difficult time dealing with it, whether it be law enforcement or attorneys,” she said.

“Anyone who has had anything to do with it, it’s been wearing on them.”

Jonathan and Michelle Smith will be arraigned on March 31.

They remain in custody, and their case will be on June’s trial docket.