A Dodge County father and the live-in girlfriend he met online were sentenced to life in prison Monday in the child-abuse death of the father’s 3-year-old son.
The boy, Zackory Dean Smith-Chick, died last March of what a medical examiner described as extensive “inflicted trauma” over a period of about two weeks.
Blows to the head and skeletal injuries contributed to the child’s death. Both his legs were broken at the thigh.
The boy’s father, David Edward Smith, 31, and the father’s girlfriend, Kaiko Smith, 32, pleaded guilty to felony murder on Monday. They also pleaded guilty to a child-cruelty charge.
Though they share a last name, the pair were not married. They met on the Internet in early 2013. David Smith, who had custody of Zackory, was then staying with his mother west of Atlanta, and Kaiko Smith lived in upstate New York. Records linked to her name list the email handle “AsianLove9999.”
Later that year, David Smith moved Kaiko Smith and her two children, ages 12 and 15, to Georgia. In January of last year, along with Zackory, they settled in a mobile home on the outskirts of Eastman. The boy’s mother and maternal kin lived in the area.
His fatal injuries happened about the time of his third birthday last February.
By the time anyone called for help on March 14, Zackory was near death. He died at the county hospital soon after being taken there by ambulance.
Kaiko Smith later admitted striking Zackory, likely with her hands, Oconee Circuit District Attorney Tim Vaughn said Monday.
There was no evidence the child was struck with a weapon.
“There is no explanation,” Vaughn said. “She just did it.”
The boy’s father was charged because he failed to intervene.
“(The father) was there every day, in and out, and he did nothing to protect the child,” Vaughn said. “And he did nothing to seek medical aid for the child until it was too late.”
When investigators searched Kaiko Smith’s cellphone, they found a video where she had recorded an obviously injured Zackory.
In the clip, as if toying with him, she prodded him to crawl into bed under his own power, Vaughn said. “He was screaming in anguish because he had two broken legs.”
The Smiths said nothing in court Monday when given the chance.
Though they were arrested in Dodge County last year, they have been locked up in a neighboring county much of the time.
“We’ve had to put them in another jail,” Vaughn said, “because the inmates here were not happy with them.”
To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.