Abuse Suspect Heads To Court
Sunday, March 25th 2007, 6:27 pm
By: News On 6
A trial is scheduled to begin today for an eastern Oklahoma woman accused of abusing her 4-year-old nephew. Officials say when they first began investigating this case, the boy looked starved. Muskogee County authorities say boy was so underfed that his bones had stopped growing properly, and he needed a cane to stand. Earlier this year, the childâ€™s mother, Melanie Smith, was sentenced to 16 years for child neglect, but a Muskogee County jury decided she wasn't guilty of abuse.
The News On 6â€™s Heather Lewin was in the courtroom when the little boy gave his version of the story. She reports the jury believed his aunt was responsible for the abuse.
When authorities took the victim away from his mother in June of 2005 the little boy was badly malnourished and covered in bruises. Recovering in foster care, the boy age 5 at the time of the trial was able to testify against his mother. But it wasn't just Melanie Smith that authorities suspect abused him, much of the evidence points the finger at Smith's aunt, Sharon Smith.
On the witness stand, the child described various "punishments" at the hands of Aunt Sharon. "She spanked me with a stick on my privates. She stepped on my feet. She handcuffed me and then she taped my mouth. I went with the bogeyman in the dark 'cause Sharon threw me in there."
In addition to being starved and forced to sleep in a closet investigators say the boy was forced to hold weights above his head, taped to his hands so he wouldn't drop them.
The child testified when he told his mother about what happened at Sharon's house she told him "too bad."
Sharon Smith's daughter Brenna also faces child abuse charges in the case. Sharon Smith's child abuse trial is scheduled to begin Monday.
7/16/2005 Hearing Set For Couple Charged In Torture Of A Muskogee Boy
7/28/2005 Workers Failed To Report Abuse Of 4-Year-Old Muskogee County Boy
8/3/2005 More Charges Expected In Braggs Child Abuse Case
11/22/2005 Court Hearing Held In A Muskogee County Child Abuse Case
1/17/2006 Muskogee County Child Abuse Suspect Bound Over For Trial
2/24/2006 Judge Rules Against Bail For Woman Accused Of Abusing Son
8/23/2006 Trial To Start Later This Month For Braggs Woman Charged With Child Abuse
9/15/2006 Muskogee County Judge Denies Request To Drop Charges
10/31/2006 Braggs Woman's Child Abuse Trial Continues
11/1/2006 Child Abuse Trial Continues In Muskogee County
11/3/2006 Jury Convicts Muskogee County Woman On Two Of Three Charges
11/6/2006 A Muskogee County Child Abuse Case Isn't Over Despite A Jury Conviction
12/10/2006 Melanie Smith Sentencing Set For Today
12/11/2006 Mother Convicted In Brutal Case Of Child Neglect Ordered To Prison