A Savannah couple were sentenced to prison Friday for beating a restaurant owner and her 15-year-old daughter in June after complaining of cold chicken and too few french fries, the district attorney said.

 

Superior Court Judge Robert Guy sentenced Nathaniel Eric Smith, 45, to eight years in prison and seven years’ probation for cruelty to children, District Attorney Jackie Johnson said.

Guy sentenced Latasha Denise Smith, 28, to two years in prison and eight years’ probation for aggravated battery, Johnson said.

Guy also ordered the Smiths to pay $4,000 restitution and banished them from Appling and Jeff Davis counties, she said.

The Smiths pleaded guilty to the two charges in November in Camden County, after Guy agreed to change the venue of the trial because of publicity in Baxley.

A surveillance tape of the beating was shown on every major network and other outlets as Baxley police and other agencies searched for the Smiths. They surrendered in Bryan County nearly two weeks later.

After the Smiths complained loudly about their meal at Jeanette Norris’ drive-through restaurant, the Qwik Chik, Norris offered to refund their money. But outside the restaurant, Latasha Smith began punching Norris.

When her daughter came to help her, Eric Smith immediately punched the teen in the face and knocked her down. Jeanette Norris’ nose was broken, and her daughter suffered a concussion.

Eric Smith’s sentence was enhanced because he had several prior convictions, Johnson said. Guy denied Latasha Smith’s request to be sentenced in accordance with the first-offender statute under which her record would have been cleared eventually if she didn’t violate any more laws.

The victims were present in court and were satisfied with the sentences, Johnson said.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405