NWGA Scanner | June 15th, 2021

Dalton man convicted of rape sentenced to life in prison without parole

Superior Court Judge Scott Minter on Tuesday sentenced Richard Marvin Smith to serve the remainder of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for a 2019 rape. Minter sentenced Smith, 53, of Dalton, to an additional 10 years to serve (the maximum) on an attempted kidnapping charge that arose from the same incidents. Smith was convicted on May 13 by a Whitfield County jury following a three-day trial. The state’s case was presented by Assistant District Attorney Mark Higgins who also represented the state at the sentencing hearing. Higgins tendered certified copies of three prior felony convictions on Smith. Prior to the rape offense in 2019, Smith had been convicted of burglary in 1986, possession of meth and cocaine in 2003 and possession of cocaine in 2005. Smith’s attorney did not contest the evidence of the prior convictions. Under Georgia law, rape carries 25 years to life in prison. A person convicted of rape who has either a single prior conviction for a serious violent felony such as murder, rape, armed robbery or aggravated child molestation or three or more prior felony convictions regardless of the prior charges must be sentenced to the maximum sentence of life and that sentence must be served in its entirety without the possibility of parole. The incidents occurred on March 30, 2019. Evidence presented by the state at trial included testimony of the victim as well as three codefendants of Smith who were also charged with offenses stemming from the incidents. The victim, a recovering meth addict, testified that she and an acquaintance had been using meth together for days leading up to March 30, 2019, at which time they went to Smith’s trailer at 172 Shirley Way where illegal drug use was occurring. While at the trailer, the acquaintance’s ex-boyfriend recognized the victim as an informant who worked with local law enforcement years earlier who he attributed as responsible for sending him to prison. Based on this discovery and worried that the victim might still be working as an informant, the people in the residence held the victim against her will at the trailer while they decided what to do with her. While she was held captive she was struck in the face, threatened with additional physical violence and death, strip-searched, deprived of her phone and vehicle, and kept from leaving the residence. The victim testified a man, Richard Forrest, of Dalton, forced her to perform acts of sodomy and sexual intercourse with him. After this, Forrest encouraged Smith to also sexually assault the victim which led to her being forced to perform intercourse with Smith while she was being held against her will. At some point, the victim was able to run out the door and fled on foot, ultimately ending up at McDonald’s off of East Walnut and reporting the incident to law enforcement later that day. Forrest is serving a 30-year sentence, including 12 years without the possibility of parole, for aggravated sodomy of the victim. He pled guilty and was sentenced on Sept. 20, 2019. The victim’s acquaintance, Amy Jones (aka Amy Walden), was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years with five in prison and the rest on probation for false imprisonment. She must also pay a $2,000 fine and meet certain conditions, including no contact with the victim. Charges against another codefendant, Lindsey Lowe, of Dalton, were dismissed by Higgins.