A jury believed the little boy, who has in painful detail told the story more than once of being molested by a trusted family member, 29-year-old Cody Lee Pitts.
After only an hour Wednesday, the Harrison County Circuit Court jury returned with a verdict of guilty against Pitts for lustful touching of a child. Judge Roger T. Clark promptly sentenced Pitts to 10 years in prison with no possibility of parole.
In the front row of the courtroom, Pitts’ mother put her head in her hand and wept. She lost her other child, a son, to a fentanyl overdose a year ago, she said, and her husband is also dead. Pitts, who most recently lived with her in Ovett, is all she has left.
The boy, now 11, first told his mother and a neighbor several years ago what happened from 2012-13, when he was five and six years old. He’s retold the story to investigators and, this week, to the jury at Pitts’ trial.
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“This child has been put through the ringer for all these years,” Assistant District Attorney Patti Simpson told the judge before sentencing. “Nothing can excuse this man for putting his hands on a six-year-old. To the state, that is vile.”
The boy said he was only touched on the genitals by Pitts while they lived in Harrison County. After they moved to Perry County, the boy testified, he was raped by Pitts.
Before the case went to the jury, prosecutors said details the boy offered, showed he was telling the truth rather than being coached by a vindictive mother as the defense claimed.
For example, the boy described the lubricant Pitts used for sex as being in a clear bottle with a blue cap. Also, the boy said, Pitts had a pornographic video on his phone that he instructed the child to watch when they were together.
A forensic investigator who specializes in interviewing sexually abused children gently questioned the boy on a videotape when he was 9 years old. In addition to hearing the child’s courtroom testimony, the jury watched the video.
The boy talked about being raped. “It hurt,” he said. “I asked him, ‘Can you move it?’ He just kept it in there.
“He told me not to tell nobody — not to tell anybody what he done to me.”
The boy also said he did not know if what happened “was bad or not.”
Prosecutors say Pitts molested the boy in 2012 in Harrison County before the family moved on to Perry County, where the boy said he was raped. Pitts is scheduled for trial April 17 on a sexual battery charge in Perry County, according to the circuit clerk’s office there.