A Duluth man convicted last month of eight “horrific” felony crimes for violently abusing his child and two stepchildren was sentenced Tuesday to 29.5 years in prison.
Judge David Johnson imposed separate sentences for each crime Damen Dean Smith committed against the children, who were 4, 6 and 8 years old when charges were filed in October 2007.
When it came to handing down the sentence for the most serious offense — first-degree assault resulting in great bodily harm — Johnson said it was the crime “jurors determined almost killed Mikey
” (Smith’s stepson) when reaching their verdict April 1.
Smith, 32, also was found guilty of third-degree assault, three counts of felony domestic assault by strangulation, malicious punishment of a child resulting in great bodily harm and two counts of malicious punishment of a child.
Mikey suffered a broken arm and a serious abdominal injury in one day of many days of sustained abuse, according to trial testimony. All three children testified against Smith, saying he choked, punched and kicked them and held them under water
. The girl, now 10, said her stepfather also shot her with a BB gun.
Johnson told the courtroom that the defendant committed “absolutely horrific crimes.” He said he was especially moved hearing the 10-year-old girl testify that she thought the beatings and abuse “were just the way life is.”
He said no child should have to think that way.