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One pleads guilty in kidnappings

Two other suspects in case will go to trial next month in Statesboro

POSTED: July 28, 2012 5:30 a.m.

Gary McDonald

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A Statesboro man may face life in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to his role in two separate kidnappings of two Bryan County residents.
According to First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Durham, Gary Lenion McDonald, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to commit kidnappings before Senior U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in Statesboro.
McDonald faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, Durham said, and a $250,000 fine. McDonald remains in the custody of U.S. Marshals and will be sentenced pending a U.S. Probation Office presentence investigation.
“This defendant conspired with others to kidnap innocent victims at gunpoint and hold them for ransom,” said U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver in a press release Friday. “Those who commit terrifying acts of violence against our citizens can expect to be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows.”
The remaining defendants, Pembroke residents Antonio Murray, 38, and Cecil Nelson, 32, have pleaded not guilty and will go to trial on Aug. 20 before Edenfield in Statesboro.
The trio in January was charged with kidnapping two Bryan County residents identified in court documents as “T.M.” and “W.D.” and holding them for ransom.
According to evidence presented during the guilty plea and in an indictment in March, McDonald and others were involved in two separate kidnappings. The first incident occurred on Dec. 1, 2011, when the men forcibly entered the Richmond Hill home of T.M. and abducted him at gunpoint, only to release him after a ransom of $19,000 was paid.
The second incident occurred on Jan. 12, when the men forcibly entered the home of Pembroke resident W.D. and abducted him at gunpoint, only to release him after ordering his wife to pay $250,000 in ransom.
Assistant United States Attorneys Brian T. Rafferty and Carlton R. Bourne, Jr. are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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