Alabama man sentenced to 615 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of children over many years
Raven Nathaniel Smith, 35, of Cottonwood, will die in prison as there is no chance of parole because of the way his sentence has been structured.
An Alabama man has been sentenced to more than 600 years in prison after pleading guilty to a litany of sex crimes against young girls, including rape, sodomy, and sexual abuse.
Raven Nathaniel Smith, 35, of Cottonwood, was arrested in August 2017 and charged with one count of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree sodomy, and 13 counts of second-degree sexual abuse, according to court documents obtained by the Dothan Eagle.
He was also charged with first-degree rape, with that charge, as well as the charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy, and first-degree sexual abuse constituting felonies. Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class A misdemeanor.
In the indictment by a Houston County grand jury, it was also indicated that Smith's victims included girls aged between just 12 and 16 years. Court documents further stated that his crimes had begun as far back as 2011.
In May 2018, he entered a guilty plea.
During his sentencing hearing this past week, Assistant Houston County District Attorney JT Jones was close to tears as he described Smith's crimes to Circuit Court Judge Todd Derrick, reported WTVY.
When called to speak, Smith apologized to the families of the five victims he had molested and raped over a period of several years, but there would no leniency coming his way.
The families of the victims pleaded to Derrick to deliver the harshest possible sentence to Smith, and the judge obliged. He sentenced the 35-year-old to 615 years behind bars for his crimes.
Jones was emotional after the hearing, telling WTVY, "When you deal with cases that involve children, particularly young children, it's going to hit your heartstrings every time. You get to know them and you feel the pain they go through."
The mother of one of the victims was similarly overwhelmed. "I can't believe what I said meant that much to a judge to punish this man the way I wanted him to be (punished)," said.
And because of the way Judge Derrick structured Smith's sentences, it is improbable that he will ever be paroled.
However, while these child sex cases are over, the mother said she believes there are other victims who have been too terrified to come forward against Smith. "I don't want them to be afraid anymore," she said. "I want them to know he's in jail and can't ever hurt them or anyone else."
Dothan Eagle reported that Smith's defense attorney, TJ Haywood, is planning to file an appeal on behalf of his client.