A 43-year-old trucker from St. Louis, Illinois was found guilty today by a jury of producing child pornography and attempting to tamper with the victim's testimony prior to trial. Avery Smartt, Jr, had been convicted based on charges made in a two-count superseding indictment that was filed in August 2020
In the original indictment that had been returned two years ago, Smartt had been charged only for the production of child pornography. However, his attempts to influence the statement of the victim before trial led to the filing of the second indictment with the additional charge.
Sexual Relationship With A Minor
According to evidence presented in court, Smartt was involved in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl for several months. The relationship is said to have begun in September. Being a trucker by profession, Smartt took the minor girl with him on trips out of the state, which also includes a trip from Illinois to California.
During her testimony in court, the victim revealed that Smartt had clicked sexually explicit pictures of her on these trips. When the FBI agents seized Smartt's cell phone during his arrest, they discover numerous images of the victim that were sexually explicit. Adding to the shocking findings of the case was that Smartt had fathered a child with the girl, which was proven during the trial using DNA evidence.
Attempting to Influence Victim's Testimony
After his arrest, Smartt was only indicted for the mentioned crimes. However, his actions while in custody lead to the second charge. During his stay at the Clinton County jail, while awaiting trial, Smartt began sending letters to his family and friends to communicate with the victim and convince her to change her testimony.
It was based on these letters that the trucker was slapped with the charge of attempting to tamper with the young victim's testimony. Smartt's sentencing has been scheduled for 3 February 2021. For the charge of producing child pornography, he faces 15-30 years in prison. Additionally, he could also receive up to 20 years in prison for the charge of attempting to tamper with the victim's testimony.