SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Sarasota man will be spending the rest of his life behind bars for sexually battering a young girl after a judge’s ruling.
The office of State Attorney Ed Brodsky released an announcement Tuesday that Circuit Court Judge Thomas Krug sentenced John Martin Smith, 48, of Sarasota to life in prison after he was convicted in a four-day jury trial.
According to a release from Brodsky’s office, Smith battered a 7-year-old relative while on his sailboat in Sarasota Bay back in June 2021.
The release said the victim testified in front of the jury, saying she heard floorboards creaking as the defendant approached her.
“The child testified that Smith then sexually battered her in a cubby she slept in,” the document said. “The jury also watched Smith’s video recorded version of events when detectives with the Sarasota Police Department asked him about it.”
Smith claimed he was only moving the girl because she seemed uncomfortable.
The jury also heard testimony from another adult relative who said Smith molested her as a child 20 years ago in a “similar situation,” according to the state attorney’s office.”
“The little girl in this case was incredibly brave in testifying against her abuser at trial,” said Assistant State Attorney Ryan Felix, who was the prosecutor in this case. “The evidence showed Smith had done this before, but because of the jury’s verdict and the judge’s sentence, he’ll never be able to do it again.”