Men sentenced on sex crimes accused in shooting

Two men accused in a shooting of four St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff’s deputies in August 2012 pleaded no contest Thursday in Livingston Parish to sex-crime charges in a case in which they were accused of sexually abusing two girls in at least three different parishes.

Terry Smith, 45, pleaded no contest to sexual battery after he was booked in Livingston Parish in January on three counts of an aggravated sex crime. He was sentenced to five years in state custody with credit for time served.

His son, Derrick Smith, 23, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile after originally being booked on one count of an aggravated sex crime. He received a six-month parish jail term with credit for time served.

Derrick Smith also is charged with an aggravated sex crime in DeSoto Parish.

The court clerk there said the case file is sealed and no information was available on its status.

Terry Smith is charged with aggravated rape, three counts of an aggravated sex crime and sexual battery in Terrebonne Parish.

The case is pending but has not been scheduled for trial, District Attorney Joseph Waitz said.

If convicted on the rape charge there, Terry Smith would face an automatic sentence of life in prison.

Terry and Derrick Smith’s family fled from law enforcement in Tennessee because of sexual-abuse allegations there involving the two girls, one of whom was 13 years old. Those allegations caught up to the Smiths after they were arrested in the St. John case.

Two St. John sheriff’s deputies, Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche, were killed in a shoot-out on Aug. 16, 2012, with a group of people in LaPlace. Two other deputies were gravely injured but survived.

The people arrested, who have been linked to a group of anti-government extremists known as Sovereign Citizens, included Terry and Derrick Smith.

Also arrested were Terry Smith’s wife, Chanel Skains; his other son, Brian Lyn Smith; Brian Smith’s girlfriend, Brittney Keith; Kyle David Joekel; and a woman living with Joekel, Teniecha Bright.

Brian Smith and Joekel are the accused gunmen in the slayings. They have been charged with capital murder and face execution if convicted.

Terry Smith is still charged as a principal to attempted first-degree murder. Derrick Smith pleaded guilty as an accessory and agreed to a five-year sentence, plus a 12-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be paroled in June 2017, according to the Department of Corrections.

Bright was released from custody. Skains and Keith have pleaded guilty as accessories and agreed to testify against the others.

Terry and Derrick Smith were already incarcerated in the St. John shooting case when they were booked in Livingston Parish on Jan. 22 on counts of an aggravated sex crime, said Trooper First Class Jared Sandifer, a Louisiana State Police spokesman.

Louisiana State Police issued arrest warrants for each man, accusing them of various sex crimes. The warrants for the Livingston case were signed in January, while warrants in Terrebonne and DeSoto were signed in December and February.

The State Police warrants do not provide any details or dates of the alleged incidents.

The Smith family had been living at a campground in Tennessee in November 2011 when Terry Smith allegedly demanded that a 13-year-old girl send him nude photographs of herself or face being beaten, according to a search warrant from the Robertson County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office.

A detective arrived at the Smiths’ campground on Nov. 9, 2011, but Brian Smith and Keith had already taken the girl to Mississippi.

Keith testified in a hearing in St. John the Baptist Parish that she found out about the molestation and wanted to get the child away from Terry Smith. She did not notify police.

The detective seized computers and documents that eventually led authorities to connect the Smith family to Sovereign Citizens.

The Smith family fled to Louisiana, which led to the detective issuing a nationwide bulletin saying Terry Smith was wanted for questioning in a child sex abuse case.