A federal judge has sentenced two men from Whitley and Laurel counties to nearly 20 years in prison in connection to an area kidnapping case.
On Tuesday in U.S. District Court in London, Judge Claria Horn Boom, sentenced Gene Jones II, 40, of East Bernstadt, to 235 months in prison, and Nigel Medlin, 28, of Rockholds, to 220 months.
According to their plea agreements, on April 2, 2017, Medlin, Sean Fredrick, 33, a second defendant, and a third defendant, Eric Wayne Collins, 34, kidnapped three victims, for the purpose of assaulting one victim because of a missing truck. Medlin admitted to contacting the victim through Facebook Messenger and arranging a meeting in the Walmart parking lot in London, by pretending to buy methamphetamine.
The three admitted to waiting on the victim, who arrived to the parking lot with two others. Medlin and others approached the three victims and instructed one to get in the back seat of the vehicle. Then sitting on either side, they instructed one of the other victims to drive the vehicle down I-75, to Jones’ residence in Laurel County.
At Jones’ residence, Collins and Medlin took the victims to a house behind Jones’ house, where they tied and bound one victim. Collins, Fredrick, Jones, and Medlin all took turns physically assaulting the victim, breaking his jaw and hanging a metal logging chain around his neck. Collins then admitted to using pliers to pull several of his teeth. They also forced the victim to ingest the meth that he had brought to sell.
The four defendants told the victims that, if they went to the police or told anyone about what had happened, they would kill them.
Fredrick pleaded guilty in March 2019. Collins and Medlin pleaded guilty in July 2019. Jones pleaded guilty in August 2019. Fredrick is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14, 2020, and Collins is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12, 2020.
Under federal law, the defendants must serve 85 percent of their prison sentences and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for five years.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Tommy Estevan, Acting Special Agent in Charge for ATF, jointly made the announcement.
The investigation was directed by the ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Dotson represented the United States.
This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Eastern District of Kentucky, U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan Jr., coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.