Gazebo Gazette

Friday morning, March 1, 2024, Kendal Wayne Bodie of Harrison County, Mississippi, was convicted by a jury of two counts of Sexual Battery and one count of Touching of a Child for Lustful Purposes. After the evidence was  presented, the jury deliberated approximately an hour and a half before returning its verdict. Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Bodie to the maximum penalty for each count, and was  sentenced to a total of sixty (60) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.  

This investigation began when a trusted adult became aware of allegations of sexual abuse to a minor and immediately reported same to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office. The charges in this case involved the touching of a child for lustful purposes and sexual battery to the victim, who was between the age of 13 and 14 years at the time of the crimes.

During the trial, the jury heard testimony regarding Bodie’s maltreatment of the family that spanned for at least eight (8) years, which included not only the sexual abuse of the victim, but also physical violence of the family. 

The Jury also heard evidence of Bodie’s sexual gestures to two other minors, which established his motive and common scheme to prey on adolescent children with similar grooming  techniques.

“The lengths that this man would go to control and manipulate the victim and the victim’s family members was devastating. Bodie had groomed the victim and the victim’s family into silence by violence, and his actions remained concealed until the victim mustered the courage to come forward and break that silence by telling a trusted adult,” said Assistant District Attorney Haley Broom who prosecuted the case along with Chris Daniel. “The tremendous courage and strength that not only the victim, but other witnesses, displayed at trial has allowed accountability for Bodie’s horrific actions and justice for the victim.” 

While pronouncing his sentence, Judge Bourgeois described the victim’s testimony as riveting, and told Bodie that he “took the victim’s youth, innocence, and it wasn’t an isolated incident” and added “you will get your justice.”

As a convicted sex-offender, Bodie will be required to serve his 60 year sentence, without the possibility of parole or early release.  Learning of the conviction, the victim commented, “I wish I could tell my younger self that this day would come.”