A Whitley County man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping after he and three others bound, blindfolded and repeatedly assaulted a female over stolen meth, according to prosecutors.
Douglas M. Edmonson, 38, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday. Edmonson and the others threatened the victim with firearms and homemade explosives while holding her hostage at a home in Corbin. The victim was “brutally beaten, burned, and repeatedly assaulted,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
The victim was taken against her will because Edmonson thought she stole meth from him, according to court records. She wasn’t able to escape until someone else in the home shot and killed themselves, according to a federal affidavit.
Edmonson “was an armed drug trafficker and part of a group that reigned terror and committed heinous acts of violence in our rural communities,” said ATF Special Agent In Charge R. Shawn Morrow.
The three other kidnappers involved have also pleaded guilty, according to prosecutors. Dallas Chain Perkins, Bryanna Soper and Erik Peace are awaiting sentencing too. Edmonson, Soper and Peace are all Corbin residents. Perkins is from Tennessee.
Edmonson and the others used a Facebook account to lure their victim to a location in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The victim received a message about meeting with an acquaintance in Newcomb, Tenn., to supply meth, according to a federal affidavit.
The defendants showed up at the meeting place, forced the victim into a vehicle, blindfolded her and drove her to Corbin. The victim was forced into a residence in Corbin and a rope was placed around her neck, according to an affidavit. She was bound to a chair in a back bedroom. She was burned, struck, kicked and hit in the face with a pipe. She was also assaulted with barbed wire.
Her hands were taped and a sock was stuffed in her mouth. The kidnappers told the victim she was going to die. She overheard discussions about what the kidnappers planned to do with her body, according to an affidavit.
The victim was later taken to the living room in the residence and sat there while some of the kidnappers went to pick up another person, according to an affidavit. At that point, someone in the home shot and killed themselves with a revolver. The victim ran outside with Perkins, who was still at the residence.
The victim and Perkins went back to Tennessee, where the victim was eventually released, according to an affidavit.
“While nothing can make up for the unspeakable suffering the victim endured here, she knows that those who did this to her will now face the consequences of their appalling conduct,” Shier said.
The kidnapping occurred on Aug. 10, 2018, and the victim was held against her will through the next day, according to prosecutors.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms went to the kidnapping scene to detonate several homemade pipe bombs.
The four defendants were indicted in 2019.
Edmonson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17, 2022. All four defendants could face a maximum of life in prison plus a $250,000 fine, according to prosecutors.