Man gets 25 years in Edgefield County for sexual assault of 6-year-old
Jerry Dean Heard, 65, has pled guilty in Edgefield County to criminal sexual conduct with a minor – first degree. Heard was the sentenced to 25 years by Circuit Court Judge R. Scott Sprouse.
The sentenced was announced by the office of Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard.
The crime is classified as a no parole offense. Heard is a repeat sex offender with a 1990 conviction from Alabama for a sexual assault against a child under the age of 12. The Alabama conviction occurred prior to the advent of the public sex offender registry, therefore, authorities in South Carolina were not aware that Heard was a convicted sex offender.
Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard stated, “Our office continues to focus on these perpetrators of crimes against children. We will maintain our efforts to bring them to justice and keep our communities safe.”
The trial was scheduled to begin this week. During jury qualifications, Heard changed his mind and entered a plea of guilty. The child victim, now age 8, and a witness, age 11, were present at the Edgefield County Courthouse to testify against Heard. Families of both children were also present for sentencing.
On January 24, 2015, the 11 year old witness was able to record audio of a sexual assault committed by Heard while she was using her RCA tablet. The audio recording captured Heard in the act of sexually assaulting the younger child, who was 6 years old at the time. Heard, a family acquaintance of both girls, was alone with the children during the incident. Family members of both girls later listened to the audio recording and identified the voice of Jerry Heard. They notified the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office and the tablet was sent to the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for further analysis.
This case was prosecuted by Eleventh Circuit Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes and Senior Assistant Solicitor Al Eargle. Prior to delivering the sentence, Judge Sprouse reviewed the evidence and described the case as “disturbing.” Heard admitted to the sexual assault of the youngest child.
Heard was immediately transferred to the S.C. Department of Corrections to begin his sentence.