Couple Accused Of Keeping Child In Cage Pleads Guilty, Each Face Up To Ten Years
The couple accused of keeping a seven-year-old boy locked in a cage in Albany County last summer pleaded guilty to one count of Felony Child Abuse and one count of Felonious Restraint in Albany County District Court today.
Jena Harman and Alexander “George” Smith each face up to ten years imprisonment, up to $20,000 in fines, or both. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
In exchange for their guilty pleas, each defendant had two charges of Felonious Restraint dropped.
The two are accused of keeping the boy in an outdoor cage with sparse cover from the elements, no running water, no bathroom, and with very little human interaction. Prosecutors say the boy was kept in the cage on and off for several weeks. The cage was approximately 6 feet by 6 feet square and five feet tall.
The couple was formerly charged with one count of Aggravated Child Abuse and three counts of felonious restraint. Aggravated Child Abuse is a felony punishable of up to 25 years imprisonment. Felonious Restraint, also a felony, is punishable of up to five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Amended charging documents filed yesterday in Albany County District Court included the same three counts of Felonious Restraint, but charged each with Felony Child Abuse, a felony punishable of up to five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
District Court Judge Wade E. Waldrip from Carbon County also heard arguments from Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent to revoke Harman’s bond. Harman was released on a $25,000 signature bond on January 14, 2015. Part of Harman’s bond conditions included that she not consume any alcohol nor enter an establishment in which the primary income comes from the sale of alcohol.
Trent told Judge Waldrip that witnesses saw Harman consuming alcohol at the American Legion Hall on the Saturday after she was released, only three days after her signature bond was posted. Trent also said that witnesses and employees of the school district were concerned that Harman would retaliate against them.
Waldrip ruled to continue Harman’s bond, for now, pending a motions hearing for bond revocation. Waldrip changed the conditions of Harman’s bond to include the restriction that she may not enter any establishment that sells alcohol, including restaurants and grocery stores.
Waldrip stressed to Harman the importance of complying with all conditions of her bond.
Smith is currently held at the Albany County Detention Center on a $25,000 signature bond.