Jury finds man guilty in wooden box case
by Shaka S. Lias
Mar 27, 2011 | 5623 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christopher Leslie was found guilty and faces up to 50 years in prison for locking a 7-year-old relative in a wooden box. Leslie, seen here testifying on Thursday, will be sentenced on April 19. 
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Christopher Leslie was found guilty and faces up to 50 years in prison for locking a 7-year-old relative in a wooden box. Leslie, seen here testifying on Thursday, will be sentenced on April 19. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Christopher Leslie was led out of a Bartow County courtroom Friday afternoon in handcuffs and carrying a Bible shortly after a jury found him guilty of five counts, including second-degree cruelty to children and false imprisonment.

His wife, Heather Leslie, was found not guilty on all counts. She also faced nine counts.

The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon in the case which involved Christopher Leslie, who put a 7-year-old boy in a wooden box as a form of punishment. He also fed him cayenne pepper and strapped him down in a sleeping bag with a rope.

The incidents took place almost a year to date of the guilty verdict.

Leslie, who testified Wednesday and Thursday, never denied locking the child in the box last March 26 and 27. He said he built the box because he didn't know what else to do to discipline the boy.

He stood motionless as Judge Scott Smith read the verdict.

Attorney for Leslie, David W. Brookshire, said they are not happy with the verdict.

"Mr. Leslie did not use the best decision in using the box for the child, but yet we do not believe that it rose to the level for him to be convicted of a felony," Brookshire said.

He said the case was unique.

"This was actually a case where Mr. Leslie came forth and admitted to everything. He didn't do this with any malice or any bad intention in his heart," Brookshire said.

Assistant District Attorney Shelly Faulk explained why Leslie was found not guilty on the first-degree charges.

"First degree involves the element of malice, not hatred or ill will," she said.

Leslie was found not guilty on three counts of first-degree cruelty to children and one count of false imprisonment.

Overall Faulk said she is "satisfied" with the verdict.

"I really think that this sends a very clear message to the citizens of Bartow County that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable," she said.

Leslie will be sentenced on April 19 by Judge Smith. Brookshire said he's not sure if Leslie wants to appeal and will know more after the pre-sentence investigation.

Leslie faces up to 50 years, 10 for each felony.