Butler County child sexual torture suspects now face attempted murder charges

Updated: Dec. 22, 2016 at 5:50 PM CST
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

BUTLER COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The case is expanding against a Butler County couple accused of beating and torturing two young family members. The horrific child abuse left the victims, a brother and sister, in critical condition.

Jonathan Paul Smith, 33, and his wife, Michelle Smith, 30, were originally charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse (family), two counts of sexual torture and two counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 this week.

Butler County authorities have revealed that additional charges have been filed against the couple including two counts of attempted murder and two counts of first-degree domestic violence assault.

Jonathan Paul Smith is also charged with possession of a controlled substance. Michelle Smith was additionally charged with assault on a law enforcement officer (assault 2nd degree).

The couple's bonds were increased from $1 million to $3 million. They remain in the Butler County Jail.

On Monday night, deputies were called to a home in the Greenmore community in reference to a medical emergency. Greenmore Road is located off of East Dogwood Trail (Butler County Road 37) outside of Georgiana, near Chapman.

When officers arrived, they found two children severely beaten, Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden said. He said it is one of the worst child abuse cases he's ever seen.

The victims were rushed to L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital in Greenville and then transported to Children's of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of their injuries. Sheriff Harden said they were in critical condition.

Harden couldn't release additional information due to the nature of the case and the ongoing investigation. He indicated the abuse occurred at the couple's home over the weekend, but there was a delay in notifying first responders.

"It happened actually Sunday night and they did not call for medical assistance until Monday night. So it was the next day before they even called for an ambulance to come to them," Sheriff Harden said.

He couldn't discuss the extent of the victims' injuries or how they were inflicted. He also couldn't reveal their exact ages, confirming only that the siblings are younger than 12. He says his agency has been called to the family's home before for other disturbances.

"It's one of the worst cases I've ever seen," Harden added. "A child or elderly people can't defend themselves and any time you abuse a child or an elderly person, that hurts everybody. We're very concerned and taking it very seriously. They're going to be prosecuted to the max. We're going to do everything we can to make sure that these two never hurt another child or a person."

Jonathan Paul Smith is the same man who earlier this year, was charged with false reporting an incident after officials say he called Greenville Elementary School and said there was a person with a gun on the campus.

In March, Greenville Elementary School received an anonymous phone call stating that a person had a gun at the school. The school, WO Parmer, Greenville Middle School and the board of Education all went into lockdown mode.

Officers were sent to the school to locate the person in question, but after interviewing the person and searching his property, it was determined that there was not a threat.

Police tracked down the owner of the phone number who initially reported the threat to the school, and identified him as Smith.

Smith was taken into custody and questioned about the report of the threat. It was discovered that the threat was unsubstantiated.

That case is still pending in Butler County court.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.