Jury Sees Videos In Trial of Joseph and Sonya Smith

The jury in the trial of two church members continued deliberating Thursday in Georgia. Sonia and Joseph Smith worship over the internet with the Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood.

The jury came back at 8:30 a.m. Georgia time to deliberate the fate of the parents who are accused of killing their 8-year-old son.

One of the crimes the state of Georgia has charged the Smith’s with is using glue sticks to punish Josef. It’s a form of punishment they learned at Remnant Fellowship Church.

Four of the 14 counts the Smith’s face are for aggravated assault and cruelty to children. Two of them specifically pertain to the glue sticks and others to unknown objects.

The jury wanted to know if the glue sticks could be part of all four counts, but the judge could not be much of a help.

“It is the responsibility of the jury to determine the facts of the case from all the evidence presented, so my suggestion is to say legally I am unable to comment on your question,” Judge James Bodiford said.

The jury did have a second question, but it was more of a technical question that the judge didn’t have a problem helping them with. Part of the evidence the jury is considering is video evidence of young Josef, what the defense calls a much happier time.

The defense team gave us a look at the videotape and the state claimed that the Smith’s son was chronically abused. In video of Josef at church camp from August of 2003, they argued the boy was fun-loving and having a good time.

Defense witnesses at that church camp said they never saw or suspected abuse. In another video Easter of 2003, the entire family was in Williamson County getting baptized in a ceremony.

His mom and dad are in the back and his brother is right there to the right.

The defense said there no signs of abuse. The prosecution came back to say no one at the church camp, or the baptism saw Josef with his shirt off and they would not have a chance to see the signs of abuse. They said he was having a good time at church camp because he was away from the abusive parents.

The jury will be back at 7:30 Friday morning and planned on working through lunch.

The judge called it a day around 5:00 Georgia time.

The jury in this trial is made up of 10 women and four men.

Two alternates are now sitting in on the deliberation process.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday February 16, 2007.
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