Man sentenced for child molestation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 12, 2015

Also: Murder suspect denied bond

By Melanie Ruberti

LaGRANGE — A Troup County Superior Court Judge sentenced an admitted child molester to 10 years behind bars in a state penitentiary Thursday morning for inappropriately touching a 5-year-old girl.

David Raymond Smith must also now register as a sex offender in the state of Georgia.

Smith pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of child molestation.

According to Chief Assistant District Attorney Monique Kirby, Smith grabbed the girl in a homeless shelter while her mother was filling out paperwork.

Kirby told the court Smith took the 5 year old into another room, placed his hand over her mouth so she would not scream and molested her.

The little girl was later overheard by an adult telling her sister what happened to her while riding in a car, Kirby stated.

Smith was arrested July 14.

According to Kirby, this was not the first molestation accusation made against Smith. A similar complaint was filed back in 1981, she said.

The state asked presiding Judge Travis Sakrison to sentence Smith to 20 years with 10 to serve behind bars, plus make him register as a sex offender.

Sakrison agreed with the state and handed down the sentence.

The girl’s mother and family were in the courtroom and cried out as the details of the act were described to the court.

When asked if they would like to make a statement, one woman said, “I really don’t know what to say.”

But as Smith filed out of the courtroom in shackles after sentencing, one family member had plenty to say.

“You were wrong for that! Just wrong,” she shouted at him in tears as he left the courtroom.

In another case Thursday, a West Point man was denied bond in the alleged robbery and murder of a wheelchair-bound man.

Gabriel Antonio Love, 27, was charged with felony murder and burglary in the death of Phillip Huguley, 68, of West Point.

Another man, Dontavious Billingsley, 20, of West Point, was also charged in Huguley’s murder.

Prosecutor Melissa Himes told the court Love and his accomplice beat, shot and killed Huguley in his home in May.

According to Himes, DNA evidence, blood and fingerprints placed Love at the scene of the crime.

She told Sakrison she opposed bond because Love was out on parole on burglary charges in Colorado when the murder took place.

Love had misdemeanor theft and burglary charges out of Alabama and was arrested on Sept. 2 for a parole violation, Himes stated.

He also admitted to being a member of the Gangster Disciples gang, she added.

“Your honor, his blood sample had a hit in CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and another hit came back for another crime in Alabama,” Himes said. “He is a risk of flight … a risk to this community. So, we oppose bond.”

But Love’s defense attorney, Jamie Theil Roberts, argued the next opportunity to ask for bond would be past 90 days — and the state still has not formerly indicted Love on murder charges — so he must be given at least a reduced bond.

Roberts also said there was a very good explanation for why her client’s DNA was discovered at Huguley’s home.

“My client admits he did odd jobs for the victim, which explains his fingerprints and blood in this case, which I believe were found on the windows,” she told the Judge. “As for being a member of the Gangster Disciples, I don’t think the state can connect that to this case.”

According to witnesses, Billingsley was spotted at the home the day the victim was killed, but no one recalled seeing Love, Roberts stated.

After hearing both arguments, Sakrison agreed with the state.

“I’m concerned about the cases from other states … about the other charges … and I am concerned that he might be a flight risk. So bond is denied,” he said.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.