A judge has rejected a plea agreement in the case of a Corbin man charged with kidnapping a woman and her baby after jumping into her car in December.
James William Moore, 35, appeared before Laurel Circuit Court Judge Michael O. Caperton Thursday for formal sentencing after pleading guilty to fourth-degree assault and an amended charge of theft by unlawful taking of the value under $500.
While prosecutors and defense attorneys may submit a plea agreement to the court, the judge has the final say on whether to accept it.
When a plea agreement is not accepted, the defendant has the right to move forward with sentencing with no agreement in place or to withdraw the agreement and move forward with the trial.
Moore elected to withdraw his guilty plea.
Caperton set the case for an additional pretrial hearing at 9 a.m. on Aug. 16.
Moore remains in custody in the Laurel County Correctional Facility on a $100,000 cash bond.
Moore was arrested Dec. 26 following an investigation into the incident which began on U.S. 25W and ended on American Greeting Card Road when the victim pulled a gun on the perpetrator and forced him out of the vehicle.
According to the police report, the victim, later identified as Tasha Cobb, was travling north near Kentucky Fried Chicken just after midnight when she stopped to offer a ride to a woman walking along the roadway.
However, instead of the woman, a male suspect, later identified as Moore, jumped into the vehicle, told her he had a gun and that he would kill her child, who was in the back seat, if she did not take him to American Greeting Card Road.
Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Mehler, who investigated the incident, stated in the arrest citation that Cobb did as ordered. However, when they arrived, Moore allegedly ordered Cobb out of the car, but refused to let her take her child.
“She told him she ‘wasn’t getting out with the baby in there,” Mehler stated.
A struggle ensued in which the perpetrator attempted to grab the car keys and when she fought back, he allegedly struck her on the left side of the face.
“She said she started pushing him and he put his hands around her throat and started strangling her,” Mehler stated adding the woman told the perpetrator to take the money she had and leave her alone.
Mehler said the woman told police that she reached for the purse to give him the money, producing a .380 pistol from the side pocket.
“She told him she would, ‘pull the trigger if he didn’t get out!’” Mehler stated explaining the perpetrator took $40 and a pack of cigarettes and fled the scene.
Mehler took Moore into custody about 3:20 a.m. on West Cumberland Gap Parkway.
Moore was indicted in February on two counts of kidnapping, first-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree assault and fourth-degree assault.