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042519-wsj-news-jesse-bodie-court

Jesse Bodie, right, appears in court Wednesday with his attorney, John Smerlinski. Bodie was sentenced to 16 years in prison for shooting another man on Madison's North Side last year.

A Madison man convicted in February of attempted second-degree intentional homicide for a shooting on Madison’s North Side that followed a dispute was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison.

Jesse Bodie, 30, pledged to Dane County Circuit Judge John Hyland that he would use his time in prison to improve himself and further his education, and said he regrets actions he took before a confrontation with Eldridge Taylor, 29, on March 28, 2018, that led to Taylor’s near-fatal shooting.

“I stand in front of you today wishing that I could turn back the hands of time,” Bodie wrote in a letter that he read in court. “Not one day goes by where I’m not confronted with the stain of regret over what took place a year ago. But I’m also sad.”

Arguments still differ about what exactly took place. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Taylor pulled his car in front of a car Bodie was in to confront Bodie about the way Bodie had treated Taylor’s mother earlier.

Taylor was not armed. Ozanne said surveillance video from the apartment complex on Northport Drive where the incident occurred clearly showed that Taylor kept his hands at his sides and never threatened Bodie with physical violence before Bodie leveled the gun that he was carrying, stepped back and shot Taylor. Bodie then stepped up to Taylor and shot him again as he lay on the ground, Ozanne said.

Ozanne said Bodie’s assertion that he had bought the gun only the day before to protect himself was “a bald-faced lie.”

He added that if not for the fast response by emergency personnel and the skill of doctors who performed surgery on Taylor more than 10 times, he would not have survived. Ozanne said it was “nothing less than a miracle” that Taylor was able to walk into court and testify at Bodie’s trial.

The impact of the gunshots, however, could ultimately shorten Taylor’s life, leading to organ failure from a compromised circulatory system, Ozanne said.

But Bodie’s lawyer, John Smerlinski, said the jury that found Bodie guilty of attempted second-degree intentional homicide, and not first-degree as Bodie was originally charged, showed that the jury believed there were mitigating factors. Smerlinski argued the video showed Taylor to be the aggressor, and that Bodie was defending himself.

“What we have here is a classic self-defense case,” Smerlinski said. “This isn’t something my client wanted to go ahead and precipitate.”

Smerlinski asked for an eight-year prison sentence, followed by about eight years of extended supervision, while Ozanne asked Hyland for a sentence of 25 years in prison, followed by 20 years of extended supervision.

Hyland said his sentence, of 16 years in prison followed by nine years of extended supervision, takes into account Bodie’s already-impressive work to better himself from behind bars and his plans to continue that work in prison.

But Hyland said it also takes into account what he said the video shows — Taylor clearly cutting off the car in which Bodie was a passenger, then getting out and approaching Bodie, and Bodie clearly stepping back from Taylor and firing, then stepping forward and firing again at Taylor on the ground.

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