|Trucker sentenced for juvenile abductions|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 09 April 2013 10:42|
Darien Lakeith McKinley, 30, of Stockbridge, Ga., accepted a plea agreement Monday morning just as his five-day jury trial for kidnapping was set to commence. McKinley entered an Alford plea to one count of the reduced charge of abduction for his actions in June 2012.
Judge Alan Mayberry accepted the plea, found him guilty and ordered the maximum prison sentence for the amended charge.
Last June, McKinley was arrested after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers recovered two missing juveniles from Kentucky during two incidents in Wood and Shelby counties.
One of the victims, a 17-year-old female, was reportedly released by McKinley at the Interstate 75 rest area just south of U.S. 6, after she had been abducted for several days. That victim provided information to authorities which led to the defendant's arrest in Shelby County where he was found with another juvenile victim.
An Alford plea, as McKinley used, acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for a conviction, without directly admitting any guilt. When given the chance to address the court, McKinley, fighting back tears said, "I am completely sorry for this big misunderstanding."
He then tried to add additional comments but after hanging his head into his hands, his attorney said he had nothing more to offer.
Thomas Matuszak, an assistant Wood County prosecuting attorney, then told the judge, "In all my history, this is the most despicable case I have every prosecuted."
He explained that not only would the evidence have shown that the defendant sold the women, he also "deprive them of food" and otherwise mistreated them.
The prosecuting attorney in the case also said there were three fellow inmates prepared to testify about his admissions while in custody.
"Two of the three volunteered information without asking any concessions because they were so disgusted about his actions," Matuszak stated.
He added that after watching a local news story about an arrest in a similar case, McKinley allegedly stated to his fellow inmates, "There goes $1,000 I could have made off that girl."
The jury trial was set to begin when the defense attorneys saw for the first time, one piece of evidence so damaging that the defendant accepted the deal. The evidence involved a text message sent to McKinley detailing with extensive offensive language what Matuszak classified as the "hierarchy of sex trafficking."
Though the evidence was available to the defense attorneys previously, there was a complicated scenario as to why they had not seen it prior to Monday morning.
Matuszak said the plea agreement which reduced the charge from a first-degree felony to a third-degree offense, was made primarily because he didn't want to "force the victim into public testimony if I didn't have to."
McKinley has been in custody since his arrest June 10. The judge granted credit for time served. He will also be subject to three years of post release control sanctions following his three years in prison. Through the agreement, a sexual motivation specification was also dismissed.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 April 2013 10:45|
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