RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - A guilty murder verdict has the town of Russellville divided. Should a father spend 20 years in prison for killing a man who allegedly molested his daughter? While some said Cody did what any father would do, the jurors believe the case is not that simple.
Wednesday, a jury sentenced AJ Cody to 20 years in prison for killing a man who allegedly molested his 5-year-old daughter. Some say the sentence isn't justice.
"I think very much so that I would have done the same thing," said Paul Jackson. "The question I have for every juror is what would they have done in that boy's place?"
But, three of the jurors who sat through the trial and rendered a guilty verdict said it is not as easy as that.
"They weren't in there hearing everything we were hearing," said Kristel Hines.
None of the three jurors expect he will fully serve the 20 year sentence they gave him.
"Twenty years is the sentence, and I know that sounds harsh under the circumstances, but from our point of view, it's as few as five," said Beth Lake.
"He didn't give the system a chance to work. He just snapped, decided I'm doing this," added Hines.
"I could feel the bond that he had for his children, but at the same time, he can't do what he did and just expect that to be unpunished," offered Danny Wooten.
The jurors said the hardest part to overcome was the fact that Cody deliberately waited several days to kill 65-year-old Lee Britton, even putting grocery bags over his shoes and wearing long sleeves to keep the blood off of him. Though some believe Cody did what any father would do, there are others who think the jury did their job.
"I think it's sick that anybody could even think that he's a hero," said Sasha Brannon. "I wouldn't do that. I mean, I'm not gonna say I'm perfect, but I would let the law handle it."
In court, Cody's attorneys told the jury a medical exam proved his daughter had been molested by Britton.
Cody also has a younger son, and he is the single guardian of both of his children. A source close to the family said they are now trying to find out where the children will live while Cody serves his sentence.
Prosecutors explained to the jury that though Cody was given a 20 year sentence, he is eligible for parole in 10 years and has the chance to get out in 5 years on good behavior.
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