NEWPORT, Ark. (KTHV) - It's a horrible thought. Imagine your child describing to you the most horrific abuse at the hands of a person you knew. It happened to AJ Cody.
For the first time since his murder arrest, the Pope County father told THV 11 News why he killed the man he said molested his 5-year-old daughte.
"He came home, and I questioned him. I asked him why he did that and he said, 'I told you that little ***** was lying,' and I shot him in the face. As soon as he said that, I just snapped and unleashed all my emotions at once," said AJ Cody.
Cody is serving a 20-year sentence at the Grimes Correctional Facility in Newport for murder, but he said he had good reason to do it. The reason came from his 5-year-old daughter.
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"I asked my daughter if anybody had touched her while she was at her Mommy's, and she told me what the guy did to her. That is a parent's worst fear, for something like that to happen. And, it happened. I felt like I let her down," said Cody.
After reporting the abuse to police, Cody said he waited 7 days for Britton's arrest, but when it didn't' come, he decided to confront him.
"I tried to let the law handle it. I think that was a fair amount of time to arrest somebody for that and get them off the street. I mean, how many more could he have done that to in 7 days?" asked Cody.
A jury found AJ Cody guilty of second-degree murder--a lesser charge--and sentenced to him to 20 years in prison. He'll be eligible for parole in 5 years. It's a sentence Cody said he's grateful for.
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"When they reduced it to second-degree, I was kind of relieved because that is only a quarter instead of 70 percent. That cut it down dramatically. Then they came back with 20, so 5 years. That's really a blessing. My kids will still be kids when I get out," said Cody.
"Now that you're here, do you regret any of it? Would you have changed anything?" asked THV 11 reporter Lisa Hutson.
"I wouldn't have waited seven days. I don't regret anything. I wouldn't have put myself or my daughter through that," said Cody. "I would have done whatever they gave me. That was my consequences. I had to do what I had to do, and they had to do what they had to do. That's how the world works."
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The Cody family shared documents from the Department of Human Services investigation that state Lee Britton did sexually abuse AJ Cody's daughter, but when THV 11 asked for those documents from DHS, they told us they could not be released to the media.
We did contact the Britton family for their response to this interview, but no one wanted to comment on camera.