O’FALLON, MO (KTVI) - An O’Fallon couple was sentenced Friday for keeping their autistic son inside a makeshift cage.
After a three-hour sentencing hearing that featured witnesses and a family video, a St. Charles County judge sentenced Terry and Victoria Smith to seven years in prison and a $500 fine. The couple was immediately taken away in shackles by authorities.
The Smiths were convicted last month of child endangerment. At that point, the jury recommended the maximum sentence of seven years. Prosecutors asked for that sentence during the hearing and Judge House agreed.
The attorneys representing the Smiths argued the couple should receive probation.
This case goes back to December of 2010 when authorities went to the O`Fallon, Missouri home where the Smiths were living at the time with their children including their then six year old autistic son.
Authorities discovered a makeshift cage with the child inside it. He was reportedly found sitting in urine and feces in the enclosure which was secured with zip ties and bungee cords.
The investigation went on for some time before the case wound up with a conviction against the Smiths last month.
During today`s hearing, the lawyers for Terry and Victoria Smith tried to get a new trial and have the sentencing hearing continued.
Both motions were denied by Judge House.
After some debate, the judge allowed the Smiths’ attorneys to play a video that the Smiths and their lawyers put together. The video portrayed the Smiths and their children, including their autistic son, in a very sympathetic light.
Victoria Smith cried as the video played.
That did not sway prosecutors or the judge.
The prosecutor in the case blasted the Smiths, saying that their children “mean nothing to them” and that they are “not responsible adults.”
The Smiths’ attorneys said they are “really good people” and “perfect candidates” for probation.
No one spoke on camera after the hearing, including Victoria Smith’s father, who had no comment as he left the courthouse.
It’s unclear how much time Terry and Victoria Smith will actually have to serve. The prosecutor indicated that since they are first time offenders, they may serve considerably less than seven years.