Parents Charged in Child's Death Go On Trial Monday - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Parents Charged in Child's Death Go On Trial Monday

Josef Smith Josef Smith

ATLANTA (AP) -- The case of a man and woman accused of killing their eight-year-old son is expected to begin Monday in a suburban Atlanta courtroom.

The case led authorities to look into the practices of a Brentwood church.

Joseph and Sonya Smith have been charged with murder in the October 2003 death of their son, Josef. According to a Cobb County Superior Court indictment, they are accused of confining him and fatally beating him.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in Marietta, 17 miles northwest of Atlanta.

The 14-count indictment issued in June said the couple from Mableton has been charged with four counts of murder, five counts of first-degree cruelty to children, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of false imprisonment.

The Smiths are members of the Remnant Fellowship Church, which grew out of church leader Gwen Shamblin's Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian diet program she created in 1986.

Authorities raided the church in June 2004 as part of the investigation of Josef Smith's death.

That came after an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation uncovered a church tape in which Sonya Smith and Shamblin discuss Josef's confinement.

(Reports from NewsChannel 5, The Associated Press, Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.)

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