A Cocke County man convicted in March of the sexual assault of his 3-year-old daughter was given a 60-year prison sentence Tuesday, which will be served at 100 percent.
Franklin Sean Smith, 42, Henry Road, Newport, was convicted of aggravated rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery and incest, stemming from the September 2017 incident.
During the trial, the defendant took the stand to say he did not commit the charged offenses and the confession he made at the time was “sarcasm.”
During the sentencing hearing before Judge Carter Moore, Assistant District Attorney Mark Strange read a victim impact statement from the defendants’ former wife. She called Smith “a monster for what he did to our baby.”
During the reading the defendant looked down, showing no emotion except to shake his head in opposition to some of the statement. The ex-wife argued Smith has no emotion or remorse. Defense attorney Jessica Sisk argued Smith should receive a 40-year sentence, the low end of the sentencing range, because the victim did not require excessive medical treatment.
“The risk to her life was not high,” Sisk argued.
The defendant told the court he is a preacher who preached in a number of churches, but he maintained he is not a pastor.
“All I wanted was family. I didn’t care about money or popularity.”
The defendant said he has been the subject of many injustices.
“You can’t imagine having everything that is important to you, being ripped away, and I’ve been trying to understand why my wife would do this to me.”
In imposing the sentence, Moore said the fact the defendant was a preacher and was sober at the time of the offense was an aggravating factor, and the court said the defendant abused the position of private trust he had with his daughter.
“On this Earth there should be no one that we should feel safer with, or protected with, than our mothers and our fathers. And the jury in this matter has said that the defendant in this matter is guilty of raping his own three year old daughter. Never has a position of private trust been abused more,” ruled the court.
Smith also faces a number of additional yet unresolved charges.
In September 2017, he allegedly held a gun on Amanda Smith along with three juveniles.
He was charged with vandalizing a wall and TV stand in the Cocke County Jail in December 2017 in an escape attempt. The defendant escaped from the Cocke County jail in March 2018. Smith faces the additional charges of four counts aggravated assault, attempted felony jail escape and vandalism, and felony jail escape.