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Prosecutors to retry child rape suspect
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Three jurors stood between him and life in prison last month. Now, John David Smartt Jr., 47, will be looking down the barrel again as prosecutors have opted to retry him on charges he molested a child for over a decade, beginning when the girl was just 4.
Smartt will face a jury trial Feb. 17-18 of 2016, according to the recently released Circuit Court docket. He could face a veritable life sentence if he is convicted of the host of charges, the chief of which is child rape – a crime that carries 15 to 25 years with no chance of parole.
Jurors voted by a count of 9-3 to convict him after they heard two days of testimony which included emotional testimony by the victim, who is now an adult. Saying he is “still a monster” to her, the young woman detailed how Smartt began molesting her when she was 4 years old, sexual assaults that continued and escalated into her teen years.
She told jurors she told her mother when she was 12, something her mother verified during trial, but that her mother did not believe her enough to turn in her daughter’s alleged molester to authorities. She eventually came forward once she got away from Smartt.
It was also revealed during trial that Smartt had sat on a jury that acquitted an accused child molester during the same time he was allegedly molesting the little girl. The victim said he had even used his status as a juror to keep her quiet by pointing out no one believed the other little girl and therefore they would not believe her.
In the end, three jurors refused to convict Smartt following trial, leaving the verdict deadlocked. Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley declared a mistrial, leaving the path open for prosecutors to try Smartt again.