Cedric Smith gets seven years

Published 11:52 pm Saturday, January 26, 2008

Former Poplarville High School baseball coach Cedric, Smith, who plead guilty for the statutory rape of a then 14 year-old student was sentenced to serve seven years.

Smith, 36, was arrested on Dec. 15, 2006, for the charge of statutory rape. On Sept. 8, 2007, he plead guilty to the charge. The guilty plea was entered in part due to incriminating cell phone records and other evidence against him.

On Friday Smith was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections by 15th Circuit Court Judge Prentiss G. Harrell. Thirteen of those years were suspended. Smith will serve seven years for the charge, according to a press release from the 15th District Attorney’s Office.

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Fifteenth District Attorney Hal Kittrell said Smith is now in the custody of MDOC.

A negotiation with the family allowed Smith to enter his guilty plea, as opposed to defending himself in court, Kittrell said.

During the hearing held in September, Smith’s attorney, Jonathan Farris, told Harrell that the evidence against his client was substantial and would lead a jury to convict Smith. Some of the evidence covered in that hearing involved about 566 text messages shared between Smith and the unnamed girl, along with the used condom disposed of in front of the Poplarville Police Station.

For the charge Smith could have been convicted of the maximum sentence, which is 30 years, Kittrell said. Even though Smith entered a guilty plea rather than going to trial, the sentence would have been the same.

“There was no reduction on the charge on this,” Kittrell said. “(Statutory rape is) exactly what we convicted and charged him with.”

In a separate case Harrell also sentenced Kenneth Daniels to 10 years in the custody of MDOC, with five years suspended, according to the press release. Daniels was charged with sexual battery of a mentally defective person in Marion County.