May 24, 2013
CHATOM — James Ryan Booth will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to 11 sex-abuse charges and one drug charge earlier this year. Bound in neon yellow handcuffs and wearing standard black-and-white stripes, Booth, 34, of Wagarville said little on Monday as Circuit Judge Robert Montgomery sentenced him to seven concurrent life sentences, five without the possibility of parole. When asked if there was anything he would like to say to the court, Booth responded with a dry “no, sir” before Montgomery read him his fate.
Booth’s sentencing closed a sordid ordeal involving Booth and his common-law wife Julie Ann Reed Guy committing sex acts with their young children. Guy, 21, was also sentenced to life in prison in February after she entered blind pleas on multiple charges of sexual abuse of children under 12, production of pornography, sodomy and rape.
In stark contrast to Guy’s tearful apology during her sentencing, Booth was unemotional, sitting with his hands folded or adjusting his handcuffs and looking up routinely. Deputies sat Booth away from other prisoners in the courtroom before the sentencing. When Montgomery asked him if he understood his sentence, Booth answered with a simple “yes.”
Officials said the children involved were daughter under a year old, a female cousin who was 4 years old and a 6-year-old son.
On a conviction for:
- One count of production of child pornography, Booth was sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Two counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, Booth was sentenced to two 20-year terms for each count.
- One count of incest, Booth was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
- Two counts of first-degree rape, Booth was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole.
- Three counts of first-degree sodomy, Booth was sentenced to three life terms without the possibility of parole.
- One count of pornography involving a parent and minor, Booth was sentenced to life imprisonment.
- One count for possession of child pornography, Booth was sentenced to five years in prison.
- One count of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, Booth was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
All sentences are to run concurrently, Montgomery said.
Booth and Guy were arrested in March 2012 at their Wagarville home after Washington County Sheriff ’s deputies were alerted to the sex crimes by the Washington County Department of Human Resources, which in turn had been informed by a concerned citizen, according to chief deputy Ferrell Grimes. Guy was sentenced to life in prison on two counts of production of obscene matter, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and one count of permitting or allowing a child to participate in the production of obscene matter.
Guy also received 20 years each on three counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 (to run concurrently with the life sentences), five years for one count of incest (to run consecutively), and five years for one count of possession of obscene matter (to run concurrently).
Current guidelines make Guy eligible for parole at some point due to her age.
At Guy’s sentencing, Washington County District Attorney Spencer Walker entered into evidence a disc that he said had been prepared by the Alabama Department of Forensic
Science and which contained all the videos showing Guy engaged in acts she was eventually charged with.
The evidence was seized when Guy and Booth were arrested, and Walker requested that it be sealed. Prosecutors at Booth’s hearing also entered the disc into evidence and requested that it be sealed due to the graphic nature of the images and the ages of the victims.
Booth has the right to appeal within 42 days of his sentencing, Montgomery said.
Officials satisfied with outcome of ‘worst case’ of abuse they’ve seen
Washington County officials say they are satisfied with the outcome of a child sex-abuse case that resulted in life sentences for a Wagarville couple.
James Ryan Booth, 34, and his common-law wife, Julie Ann Reed Guy, 21, both received life sentences for convictions on a combined 14 charges involving the first-degree rape and production of child pornography of three children. Both entered blind guilty pleas.
“I was pleased with the result,” District Attorney Spencer Walker said. “Mr. Booth received the maximum sentence of life without parole as far as the Class A felonies are concerned. He will never be able to abuse another child.”
Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer also said he was satisfied with the outcome of what he called one of the worst cases of child sex abuse he has seen.
“I don’t know that we’ve seen anything as severe as this,” Stringer said. “As far as a failure of morality, this is probably the worst case I have ever seen, people abusing their own children. Everyone involved in this case suffered.”
Walker expressed a similar sentiment, saying that since he started with the DA’s office in 1989 as an investigator, this case is “by far the worst example (of child sex abuse) I’ve seen in all those years.”
“All are terrible, but this was certainly one of the more extreme ones I have seen,” Walker said.
On several of the charges, Booth was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole while Guy’s age leaves open the possibility of parole.
Federal authorities are considering bringing charges against Guy, according to Spencer. Stringer said that Guy has already been transferred to a state prison after being sentenced in February and Booth will be transported sometime this week.
“It’s sad to say, but in most instances people who are eligible for parole are paroled.” Walker said. “I really don’t think they (the Board of Pardons and Paroles) will grant parole to her based on the facts of this case if they look at it carefully. But you never know.
“The thing to remember, this wasn’t just one child. There were three children that we know of, that we have video evidence of them being abused,” Walker added. “I think they (Booth and Guy) were predatory, and I hope they never have the opportunity to do it again.”
Walker said a young girl who had been babysitting for Guy asked to use Bluetooth to move some songs from Guy’s phone to her own and in the process transferred a video that detailed some of the abuse and was later used as evidence against Guy.
“This young lady was brave for a girl that age. She really held it together in a difficult situation. She didn’t let on and she waited until she could tell her parents,” Walker said.
After warrants were issued, officials from the Department of Human Resources, the DA’s office and the sheriff’s office collected digital evidence from cell phones, computers and a thumb drive that detailed the sexual abuse. That evidence was sent to the Alabama Computer Forensics Lab in Hoover, Walker said.
In a rare move, Walker called the grand jury back into session to consider the evidence for indicting Booth and Guy.
“That’s the first time I’ve done that as district attorney,” Walker said. “I felt there needed to be expedited action.”
The couple was indicted and arraigned before entering blind pleas, meaning no bargain was on the table in exchange for admitting guilt, Walker said.
Guy and her defense attorney alleged that Guy fell under the influence of Booth, but Walker said he was not sure that was the case.
“Honestly, I don’t think that the evidence that we extracted substantiated that claim.
It looked like both were, for lack of a better term, willing participants just from the video evidence,” Walker said.
“They both claimed they were under the influence of methamphetamine at the time, and that may have been the case. However, I have prosecuted by now hundreds of people who have been methamphetamine addicts. I’ve even been present when doors were kicked in, and in most of those cases those people still have the instinct to protect their own child. In this case, that didn’t seem to be present.”
Despite his stoic demeanor during his sentencing on Monday, Walker said Booth seemed remorseful during the interview with police after his arrest and cried during questioning.
“I have not experienced a case where the child has been so young in this area. I don’t recall there being a case with an infant,” Walker said. “I would say it ranks up at the top as far as depravity is concerned.”
Stringer said sex abuse of children is rare in the area, and he has not seen any sympathy for the couple from the public.
“The more severe the punishment, the better,” Stringer said.
February 23, 2012
Child sex abuse investigation against couple leads to Methamphetamine charges as well
WAGARVILLE, Alabama — A 31-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were charged today with sexually abusing 2 children and manufacturing methamphetamine in Washington County, authorities said.
James Ryan Booth and Julie Reed Guy were each charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and 2 counts each of rape, sodomy, child sexual abuse and chemical endangerment of a child, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ferrell Grimes said.
The couple, who Grimes said were living together but not married, will have a bail hearing Friday morning at the Washington County Courthouse in Chatom. Meanwhile, both were held at the Washington County Jail, Grimes said.
The investigation of the couple was primarily intended to look into the sex abuse allegations, Grimes said. He said that deputies executed a search warrant at their home in the Wagarville area of northeast Washington County.
Besides confirming the allegations of sexual abuse against 2 children, deputies also found components of a meth lab in the home, as well as the drug itself, Grimes said.
The Washington County Department of Human Resources took custody of the children and placed them in what Grimes described as safe homes.
April 09, 2012
Wagarville couple indicted on sex abuse, rape charges
MOBILE, Alabama — A Wagarville couple have been indicted on several charges accusing them of raping three young children, including their 8-month-old daughter, and recording the abuse on a cell phone video camera, authorities said today.
Julie Anne Guy, 21, and James Ryan Booth, 33, are each charged with three counts of rape, three counts of sodomy, three counts of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12, possession of obscene matter, production of obscene matter, allowing a child to engage in production of obscene matter, manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, chemical endangerment of a child and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Guy is also charged with two counts of incest, while Booth is charged with one count of incest.
Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer said the couple were arrested in February after someone reported seeing a video of the abuse on Guy’s cell phone.
A grand jury issued the indictments late last month.
The victims are the couple’s infant daughter, Guy’s 5-year-old son and a 4-year-old girl, according to Stringer.
The couple made videos of the abuse on a cell phone camera, Stringer said.
“It’s our opinion they were making the videos possibly for re-sale,” Stringer said. “It really does indicate they were making them for a purpose.”
The couple were also manufacturing meth, the sheriff said.
Court records show that the cases are pending in Washington County Circuit Court. Both defendants have been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation by a forensic psychologist.
Defense attorney Jason Darley, who is representing Guy, said she will be pleading not guilty during an arraignment tomorrow.
An attorney for Booth couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today.