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The Defendant Entered A Guilty Plea Following Nearly Two Days of Trial Testimony
CHARLOTTE, N.C. B On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, a South Carolina man on trial in U.S. District Court in Charlotte entered a guilty plea for kidnapping, possession of a firearm and witness tampering offenses after nearly two days of trial testimony, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Wayne L. Dixie, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, Chief Debra Duncan of the Monroe Police Department and Sheriff Kip Kiser of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina.
On March 22, 2012, Lonnie Cecil Buchanan, Jr., 44, of Pageland, S.C., was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of kidnapping, one count of possession of firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of kidnapping. Court records indicate that following his arrest and while in federal custody, Buchanan began to call the kidnapping victim in an attempt to persuade the victim to recant the statements the victim 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 tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant in a superseding bill of indictment.
According to filed court documents and evidence presented at trial, on February 26, 2012 Buchanan, while holding a firearm, approached the victim in 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 also testified at trial that Buchanan and the victim violently struggled in the car until the victim was knocked unconscious. According to trial proceedings, Buchanan then went to the passenger side of the car and dragged the victim over to a van that he had parked nearby. Witnesses stated at trial that Buchanan stood over the victim with his hand on her throat and when he noticed other people around him, he started to tell 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 court documents and trial proceedings, Buchanan repeatedly hit the victim and told her he would kill her. After 30 hours of being held captive, the Chesterfield County Sherriff’s Office 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 court records. Witnesses said that Buchanan left the .38 special revolver in the victim’s vehicle at the scene of the kidnapping, along with one of his shoes. During the investigation, law enforcement recovered a loaded .38 special revolver in the victim’s vehicle.
The defendant has been in local federal custody in the Western District of North Carolina since April 2012 and will remain in custody until his sentencing date, which has not been set yet. He faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
The investigation was led by the Monroe Police Department, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, and ATF. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Lynn Dillon and Dana Owen Washington of the U.S. Attorney=s Office in Charlotte.