A Bradenton man was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for having sex with a teenager whom he admitted to having sex and smoking crack cocaine with on a regular basis, including the night of her death.
JT Hardy Hodges, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and was sentenced to the maximum sentence the charges carried, 30 years in prison.
“JT Hodges is every parent’s worst nightmare. He preyed on a vulnerable troubled child and provided her with deadly drugs in exchange for his sexual gratification,” Assistant State Attorney Shanna Hourihan said in a statement. “At least now another parent will not have to receive the call that their child has died with the help of this man.”
On Feb. 28, Hodges woke up to find the 16-year-old victim unresponsive in his bedroom and called 911. Paramedics pronounced the victim dead at his Bradenton home.
An autopsy would later reveal that she had died from an overdose of cocaine and fentanyl.
Hodges admitted to detectives during their investigation that he and the victim regularly had sex and smoked crack cocaine, including the night of her death. But he denied ever giving her heroin or fentanyl, a painkiller that is 100 times more powerful than morphine that drug dealers cut into heroin or pass off as heroin.
The victim’s loved ones spoke at Friday’s hearing, according to a news release.
“Through tears, the victim’s mother told the court that the victim turned to drugs because she had problems growing up and never felt loved,” according to the release.
When Hodges addressed the court, he denied fault.