Butler County man sentenced to life in prison for sexual torture charges

Butler County man sentenced to life in prison for sexual torture charges

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Butler County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer has confirmed a Butler County man was sentenced to life in prison, along with more prison time, just days after the new year for a number of child abuse and sex abuse charges.

Jonathan Paul Smith and his wife, Michelle, were indicted in March 2017 on charges of attempted murder, aggravated child abuse, sexual torture, sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 and domestic violence after two children were found badly beaten in December 2016.

The children, a brother and sister, are related to the Smiths.

Jonathan Smith was set for trial in early December but decided to take a blind plea deal. Tesmer confirmed, on Jan. 3, he was sentenced to two life sentences for two counts of sexual torture, 20 years for each of two counts of sex abuse of a child under the age of 12 (concurrent), 50 years for each of two counts of first degree domestic violence (concurrent) and two separate cases of two counts of aggravated child abuse. Each of the four aggravated child abuse cases carries a 20 year sentence.

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden said he had never seen a child abuse case to this severity when the initial arrests were made in 2016. Tesmer shared a similar sentiment.

“This is the worst child abuse I’ve seen in my career, so since 1987," Tesmer said. “These victims had to go through a lot. It’s not fun to work on this kind of case, but there is some satisfaction in knowing justice was served.”

Tesmer said she and Nikki McFerrin will also prosecute the upcoming case against Michelle Smith. Tesmer said Michelle Smith pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and her case is on the June trial docket in Butler County.

Both Jonathan and Michelle Smith are currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail.

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