Parents Sentenced To Life Plus 30 Years In Son's Death - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Parents Sentenced To Life Plus 30 Years In Son's Death

MARIETTA, Ga. -- A Georgia judge Tuesday sentenced a couple with Tennessee ties to life plus 30 years in the death of their 8-year-old son.

Joseph and Sonya Smith heard their sentences pronounced Tuesday in Marietta, Ga.

The Smiths are members of the Remnant Fellowship Church in Franklin, which was raided as part of the investigation into the death of the boy, Josef Smith.

The church grew out of church leader Gwen Shamblin's Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian diet program she created in 1986.

Prosecutors charged that Josef Smith was beaten by his parents, locked inside a wooden box and forced to stay in a closet for hours at a time before he died in October 2003.

About two dozen supporters were in the audience as the couple was sentenced. Several friends spoke in support of them before the sentencing.

Judge James Bodiford said the convictions required the maximum punishment, on top of life.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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