Former DPD officers trial begins

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2007

LINDEN &8212; Criminal trial procedures began Tuesday for Terrence Lavell Smith, a former Demopolis police officer who was indicted on three counts of rape in the second degree in February.

The victim, a 14-year-old female who was 13-years-old at the time of the alleged incidents, testified to having sexual intercourse with Smith on at least three separate occasions &8212; two of which she said occurred in Smith&8217;s personal truck, and one of which occurred in an abandoned cell in the former Demopolis jail building next to the municipal court.

She also testified, in response to the District Attorney Greg Griggers&8217;s questioning, that she was never forced to do anything or was never treated in a violent manner.

The victim confirmed her involvement with Smith, who worked the crosswalk at Demopolis Middle School as part of his duties with the department, was on a voluntary and consensual basis.

During the time frame of September to December of 2006 when these incidents allegedly took place, phone records show there were more than 260 calls made between Smith and the victim.

Reportedly, Smith and the victim communicated by phone and met up at the alley between the old jail and the municipal court, which were in walking distance of her home, to have sex.

Griggers apologized for his bluntness with the victim, but, because of the seriousness of the allegations, asked the victim if she and Smith had sexual intercourse in which Smith penetrated her and ejaculated. The victim affirmed Griggers&8217; questions and said on each occasion they did not use a condom because Smith told her he had a surgery that prevented him having children.

The case came to public view when a friend of the victim&8217;s told school authorities, particularly Demopolis Middle School Principal Clarence Jackson, about the victim&8217;s relationship with the officer.

Jackson testified that after speaking with both the victim and her friend in separate, taped interviews, he called Public Safety Director Jeff Manual to determine what further actions should be taken.

The investigation was turned over to the Marengo County Sheriff&8217;s Department once it was determined the case involved a Demopolis police officer. According to Chief Deputy Tommy Reese, who was the lead investigator in the case, the sheriff&8217;s department was given a report from the Department of Human Resources and requested to handle the case.

Smith was relieved of his duties at the department after his arrest on Dec. 19.

For the remainder of the trial, which continues today, the jury is expected to hear testimony regarding forensic and DNA evidence taken from the seat of Smith&8217;s vehicle.

In Alabama, rape II is defined as sexual interaction with a minor between the ages of 13 and 16 by someone over the age of 16 with at least two years between the parties. The class B felony can carry a sentence of two to 20 years of prison time for each count.