Niles man gets prison time for domestic violence

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

NILES — A Niles man was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court on domestic violence charges.

John Rolland Smith, Jr., 40, of Niles, pleaded guilty to third offense domestic violence and was sentenced to 29 months to five years in prison with credit for 174 days served. He must pay $198 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred May 30 in Berrien Township.

Arnold said the victim was scared of Smith who had recently gotten out of prison. She noted that Smith has assaulted others in the past including a 2014 incident where he threatened to burn down his parents’ house and threw a chain saw at police.

“He continues to commit domestic violence, he can’t control his anger,” she said.

Defense attorney Carri Briseno said Smith has been approved for an inpatient treatment program and is willing to take medical treatment to control his anger and his addictions. She said Smith has been addicted to alcohol since he was a child and also takes other drugs. He is diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, ADHD and PTSD.

Smith said he knows what he did was unacceptable in assaulting his then wife. He said he knows he has to control his anger and also get treatment for his alcohol addiction.

Judge Smith noted that Smith was off parole just 15 days when this incident occurred and made hundreds of calls and other contact with the victim in this case after his arrest. “The victim had a right to be afraid of you,” she said. “Alcoholism is a disease but it’s not an excuse. If you don’t get what you want, you resort to violence.”