Dexter teen ordered to stand trial on numerous sex crime charges

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 ~ Updated 5:22 PM

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- A Dexter teenager was ordered to stand trial Monday on 14 sexual-related felonies, including forcible sodomy and forcible rape.

Zachariah A. Hedrick, 17, of the 16100 block of Country Lane appeared at three preliminary hearings before Associate Circuit Judge John Spielman of Kennett.

"We had a preliminary hearing on all three of the cases involving Hedrick, one right after the other," explained Stoddard County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rance Butler. "We took them in the order they were filed."

Hedrick originally was charged in October with the Class B felony of forcible sodomy and the Class C felony of felonious restraint in connection with an alleged Oct. 4 incident at a Dexter business involving a teenage girl.

In January, Hedrick was charged with the unclassified felonies of attempted forcible rape and attempted first-degree statutory rape, the Class B felony of first-degree child molestation, the Class C felonies of sexual abuse and felonious restraint and the Class D felony of sexual misconduct involving a child.

Those charges reportedly stem from an incident, which allegedly occurred in February 2006 and involved a then 13-year-old girl.

At the time Hedrick allegedly committed the offenses in February 2006, he was a juvenile. He was certified to stand trial as an adult on the charges.

In March, Hedrick was charged with the unclassified felonies of first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy; the Class B felonies of first-degree child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and second-degree promoting child pornography; and the Class D felony of sexual misconduct, involving a child by indecent exposure.

At the time the alleged offenses occurred, Hedrick's third alleged victim was 13.

At the time Hedrick allegedly committed the offenses between Oct. 1, 2007, and December 2007 and in March 2008, he was a juvenile. He was certified to stand trial as an adult on the charges.

"We put on our witnesses (and) had the victims in all three cases testify" during the preliminary hearings, Butler said. "Additional witnesses in the last case filed" also testified.

The witnesses, according to Butler, were all juveniles under the age of 18.

Given the ages of those involved, "the judge closed the proceedings," Butler said. "No one other than (those) authorized by the judge was in attendance ... (attending were) the judge, the court reporter, attorneys, parents of the witnesses and parents of the defendant."

After hearing the evidence, "the judge bound (Hedrick) over on all three cases for a combined 14 counts," Butler said. "(Spielman) bound all three cases over to Circuit Court."

Spielman ordered Hedrick to appear at 10:30 a.m. May 20 for arraignment on all the charges before Presiding Circuit Judge Stephen Sharp.

Up to this point, Butler said, Hedrick's first case had to "wait until the last one caught up. Now, even though they have different (case) numbers, for the present time, (the three cases) can proceed all together through the system."

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