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Press Release

Michigan Man Guilty of Kidnapping Suburban Chicago Woman and Attacking Federal Jail Employee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A Michigan man has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a suburban Chicago woman whose home he burglarized.

CARLEOUS CLAY admitted in a plea agreement that he broke into the woman’s home in Lansing, Ill., in September 2015, took several items of value and carried them away.  When he returned later that night to steal more items, Clay encountered the woman, who was returning home with groceries, the plea agreement states.  Clay abducted the woman and drove her car to an ATM in Munster, Ind., where he used her PIN to withdraw $140 from her bank account.  Clay then drove to the parking lot of a vacant commercial business in Burns Harbor, Ind., and sexually assaulted the woman in the backseat of her car, the plea agreement states. 

Afterwards, Clay strangled the woman and used lighter fluid and a lighter to set her on fire in an effort to kill her, his plea agreement states.  The victim survived but suffered permanent and life-threatening bodily injuries.

Clay, 35, of Holland, Mich., pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of kidnapping, one count of attempted murder, and one count of using fire to commit a felony.  The conviction is punishable by up to life in prison.  U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall set sentencing for Oct. 9, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Valuable assistance was provided by police departments in Lansing, Ill.; Burns Harbor, Ind.; Ogden Dunes, Ind.; Munster, Ind.; Porter County, Ind.; Holland, Mich.; and Ottawa County, Mich.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angel M. Krull and Ronald DeWald.

In addition to the kidnapping, Clay admitted in the plea agreement that he attacked a female case manager while jailed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago.  The attack occurred in April 2017 in the case manager’s office on a residential floor of the MCC.  Clay pretended to make a complaint about another inmate, but once inside the office he pushed the case manager to the floor and took her keys, which he used to lock himself inside the office with the victim, the plea agreement states.  Clay admitted that he put a homemade knife to the case manager’s throat and threatened to kill her.

Multiple MCC staff members eventually entered the office, deployed pepper spray on Clay, and removed the case manager from the room.

Updated July 11, 2018

Violent Crime