Higginsville man sentenced for sex-related crimes against minor

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Higginsville man was sentenced in a Saline County court after having been found guilty by a jury for multiple sex-related charges against a minor.

Unofficial online court documents state Jerry Hedges Jr., 38, was sentenced to 30 years in the Department of Corrections for rape or attempted rape in the first degree; 20 years each for three counts of sodomy or attempted sodomy in the first degree – aggravated sexual offense; 15 years for child molestation in the second degree – aggravated sexual offense – child less than 17 years old and offender greater than four years older; and four years for incest. According to a press release issued by Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Ellis Hilbrenner, Judge Rolf ran all of the sentences consecutively, for a total of 109 years in the DOC, which was the state’s recommendation.

Although the acts took place in Higginsville and the case originated in Lafayette County, a two-day jury trial was held on Jan. 7 in Saline County after Hedges requested a change of venue.

According to the press release, a 15-year-old victim reported the abuse to Higginsville Police Department in March 6, 2019, reporting the last incident took place March 3, 2019, and abuse had been going on since she was 13. A detective learned the defendant had been sending explicit messages to the victim on her phone, but had taken her phone from her. The press release stated Hedges provided the phone to law enforcement but the SIM card had been removed and the phone was reset to factory settings. Law enforcement was still able to obtain messages, which included admissions of the abuse. Hilbrenner also introduced evidence of Hedges's DNA in the victim’s underwear, as well as evidence he fled the state when he learned of the allegations. Hedges was reportedly arrested in Oklahoma by the U.S. Marshals several weeks later.