Smith sentenced to life on abduction charge

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Aug 29, 2012 - 01:26 PM

Photo: James Wesley Smith

James Wesley Smith

James Wesley Smith, 37, of North, was sentenced to life in prison on a charge of abduction with intent to defile last Thursday at the conclusion of a two-day jury trial in Mathews Circuit Court. He was also sentenced to 20 years in prison on a separate charge of aggravated sexual battery.

Judge R. Bruce Long explained to the jury that the sentences were mandatory under state law because of the defendant’s prior criminal record, which included a 1996 conviction for rape.

Smith, who pleaded not guilty, was tried on the same charges before a different jury in April, but that jury deadlocked, causing a mistrial. In both trials, the Commonwealth of Virginia was represented by Mathews Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowen, and Smith was represented by criminal defense attorney Joseph R. Caprio of West Point.

During last week’s two-day trial, the defense admitted that the incidents described by the 27-year-old accuser had occurred on the day in question, and that she had suffered serious mental injury from the experience, but argued that the defendant had an alibi and was not the person responsible for the crimes.