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Hallsville man sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting 4-year-old

A Mid-Missouri man will spend a decade in prison for a child sex crimes case.

Jeremy Jennings, 36, was convicted last month on two counts of statutory sodomy. And the jury recommended Jennings serve 10 years in prison for each count.

Friday, Judge Jodie Asel took that recommendation and sentenced Jennings to 10 years in prison for each count. She ruled that he can serve those together for a total of 10 years.

According to the prosecutor, when a jury recommends a sentence like in this case, the judge cannot choose a higher sentence. And 10 years is the minimum prison sentence for statutory sodomy.

In court, the prosecution recommended the two counts be served one after the other for a total of 20 years in prison. And Jennings’ defense asked for 20 years probation instead of a prison sentence.

Two witnesses testified for the defense including Jennings’ fiancee, who said she does not believe Jennings could have committed the crime and spoke in support of probation.

Both Jennings’ family and the victim’s family were in court Friday. Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Gonzalez talked to the court about a letter from the 4-year-old victim’s grandmother who said the child is going to counseling because of Jennings’ actions.

“Since this has occurred, she has reverted back,” Gonzalez said. “So she hasn’t developed as they would’ve liked had this not occurred. Sucking her thumb, not sleeping well, not wanting to be away from family members, those are types of behaviors she did not have prior to this occuring.”

After Judge Asel read Jennings his sentence, Jennings said he did not believe he had been effectively represented by the public defender. But the judge disagreed.

Jennings will be eligible to be on parole after serving 8.5 years in prison.

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