Trial reset in Huntington kidnapping case
HUNTINGTON - A judge cut off plea negotiations in a Huntington kidnapping case Tuesday after resetting a trial for two defendants.
Donte Drequan-Antonio Hendricks, 22, and Leeshawn Strickland, 35, are charged with first-degree robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the 2017 kidnapping of Robert “Bob” Lewingdon, who was tortured at an Altizer home before being left in a remote area in Cabell County.
A trial for the pair was expected to start Tuesday, but it was instead rescheduled by Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson at the defense’s request to start in May 2019.
Torra Antione Johnson, 35, and James Lee Hughes, 32, were also charged in the case but have since pleaded guilty. Hughes pleaded guilty to misdemeanor maintaining drug house, a charge that carries a six-month and one-year jail sentence. Johnson received 30 years in his role after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping in April.
Lewingdon was kidnapped in the 4400 block of Altizer Avenue in Huntington on May 26, 2017. During Johnson and Hendricks’ preliminary hearing in June, Lewingdon stated he was a drug runner for both for about 2 1/2 months prior to the incident and would work as the middleman between dealers and the defendants.
Johnson, Hendricks and Strickland are accused of having Lewingdon naked and using cords to hogtie his feet and hands behind his back and placing a cord around his throat. The defendants also allegedly threatened the victim with firearms, kicking him multiple times while pouring hot candle wax on his body and burning him with a hot iron, according to testimony.
Lewingdon said he was forced to leave the home at gunpoint and driven to a remote area off Green Valley Drive in Huntington. The driver, Danielle Stowers, testified she was forced at gunpoint to drive the victim and suspects.
Once in a wooded area, Lewingdon was allegedly forced out of the vehicle and made to walk a short distance in the woods before being shot at, dropping and playing dead as the suspects left with his personal possessions.
Both Hendricks and Strickland are out of jail on bonds.
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