JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Larry Dean Smith will be 77 years old the next time he's allowed to live as a free man. Monday, Smith pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a nine-year-old. Prosecutors said the abuse happened in Gautier in September 2012.
"The strength of the children I work with in these cases never ceases to amaze me," Assistant District Attorney Angel Myers said. "This little girl is a hero. I am so proud of her for telling what happened to her and I am proud that her parents listened. Thanks to this child's courage in reporting her abuse right away and the good work of the Gautier Police Department, a child predator was held accountable for his actions."
Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced Smith to 40 years in prison. Half that time will be served day for day; the remaining time will be on post release supervision.
"This 20 year, day for day sentence, effectively amounts to a life sentence for an individual who decided to prey upon a nine-year-old girl in our community," District Attorney Tony Lawrence said. "This case is an example of how teamwork between my office and law enforcement helps resolve cases in a high case load criminal justice system. This sentence was not only efficient, but also just."