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Pembroke kidnappers will serve life in prison
Antonio Lamont Murray

Two Pembroke brothers were each sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for their roles in two separate kidnappings involving Bryan County residents.

Antonio Lamont Murray, 39, and Cecil DeWitt Nelson, 33, received life sentences for their roles in the kidnappings of Timothy Marshlett in December 2011 and Billy Downs in January 2012. In each incident, both victims were held at gunpoint and released only after a ransom was paid.

The sentences were handed down by Senior U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in Statesboro.

“The kidnappings committed by these defendants and others were violent and shameless,” said U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver in a press release. “Because of timely action by the FBI and its partners in the law enforcement community, the United States Attorney’s Office was able to prosecute those responsible for these horrendous crimes. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to have as its highest priority the protection of U.S. citizens.”

After a three-day trial in August, Murray was convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, two kidnappings, three firearm charges and obstruction by a federal jury.

Murray was also sentenced Tuesday to a consecutive 57-year prison sentence for additional firearm convictions associated with the kidnappings. There is no parole in the federal system.

Nelson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnappings shortly before trial.

A codefendant, Gary Lenion McDonald, 36, of Pembroke, pled guilty to his role in the kidnappings and testified against Murray at trial. McDonald’s sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

The convictions of Murray, Nelson and McDonald resulted from a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, NCIS, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Tattnall County Sheriff’s Office, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Pembroke Police Department and the Hinesville Police Department.

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