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Smith pleads guilty in child sex crimes

A Butler County man has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree domestic violence, two counts of sexual torture of a child less than 12 years old, two counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old and four counts of aggravated child abuse.

Jonathan Smith, 35, of McKenzie, pleaded guilty to the charges in a Butler County courtroom on Tuesday, Dec. 11. He will be sentenced on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.

The case involving Smith dates back to December 2016 when he and his wife, Michelle Smith, 32, were indicted on charges of attempted murder, aggravated child abuse (family), sexual torture, domestic violence and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 years.

On Dec. 19, 2016, the Smiths were charged following an investigation that stemmed from a call received that night. 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. They were later 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. At the time the crimes occurred, Butler County authorities considered it one of the “worst cases they’d ever seen.”

Michelle Smith remains in jail in Montgomery, according to Butler County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer. She will appear in court in the next session, which will begin in June 2019.