Man Sentenced To 24 ½ Years In Prison On Kidnapping, Witness Tampering And Firearms Offenses
CHARLOTTE, N.C. B Today, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced Lonnie Cecil Buchanan, Jr., 47, of Monroe, N.C. to 294 months in prison on kidnapping, witness tampering and firearms offenses, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Conrad also ordered Buchanan to serve five years of supervised release after he completes his prison term. Buchanan pleaded guilty to the charges in April 2012, following nearly two days of trial testimony.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, Chief J. Bryan Gilliard of the Monroe Police Department and Sheriff Jay L. Brooks of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina.
According to filed court documents and evidence presented at trial, on February 26, 2012, Buchanan, while holding a firearm, approached a female victim at the Hilltop shopping center parking lot in Monroe, N.C. Witnesses at trial described the victim’s “blood curdling screams” as she ran to her vehicle in an attempt to get away from Buchanan. Buchanan chased the victim and jumped into her car. Witnesses testified at trial that Buchanan and the victim violently struggled in the car until the victim was knocked unconscious. Buchanan then dragged the victim to a van he had parked nearby. Witnesses at trial testified that Buchanan stood over the victim with his hand on her throat and when he noticed other people around him he told the victim that he “was going to take her to the hospital.”
Witnesses testified that Buchanan lifted the victim from the ground and placed her on the floor of the van. Witnesses also testified that Buchanan passed the hospital and drove the victim into Chesterfield County in South Carolina. According to trial evidence and witness testimony, Buchanan repeatedly hit the victim and told her he would kill her. After 30 hours of being held captive, law enforcement located the van at a vacant house in the woods, with both Buchanan and the victim inside. Buchanan was arrested and the victim was taken to the hospital for treatment.
According to filed court documents, in March 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Buchanan on kidnapping, possession of firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of kidnapping charges. Court records indicate that following his arrest and while in federal custody, Buchanan began to call the kidnapping victim in an attempt to persuade her to recant statements she made to law enforcement and the federal grand jury. As a result of that conduct, in December 2012, a federal grand jury added two charges of witness tampering in a superseding bill of indictment.
In announcing today’s sentence, Judge Conrad stated that the offense was “very serious,” it occurred “in broad daylight with a gun,” and that the defendant kept the victim “in captivity for over 24 hours, including assaulting her until she was unconscious.” Judge Conrad also stated that the defendant is “a danger to the community and has a disrespect for the law,” citing the seriousness of the offense, the need to promote respect for the law, and most importantly to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant as reasons for Buchanan’s lengthy prison term.
The defendant is currently in custody. He will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
ATF, the Monroe Police Department and the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office led the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Lynn Dillon and Dana Washington of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.