Whitley man last of four to plead guilty to kidnapping, could get life in prison

CORBIN, Ky. (WTVQ) — A 38-year-old Corbin, Ky., man faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping.         

According to the investigation and his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Wier, Douglas M. Edmonson and his three co-defendants lured a victim to a location in Tennessee, using an unrelated party’s Facebook account.

Edmonson and his co-defendants then forced the victim into a vehicle and transported her to Corbin, prosecutors said. The victim was bound, blindfolded, and repeatedly assaulted during the two-day kidnapping.

The investigation revealed Edmonson and his co-defendants employed firearms, as well as explosive devices during the kidnapping, according to prosecutors. On Aug. 11, 2018, ATF agents were called to the kidnapping scene in Corbin, and assisted in locating and detonating several homemade pipe bombs.

Edmonson was indicted in September 2019. Edmonson’s co-defendants, Dallas Chain Perkins, Bryanna Soper, and Erik Peace, previously entered guilty pleas to kidnapping and are also awaiting sentencing.

“After being lured, restrained, and held for drugs or ransom, the victim in this case was threatened with firearms and homemade explosives, then brutally beaten, burned, and repeatedly assaulted,” said Carlton S. Shier IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “While nothing can make up for the unspeakable suffering the victim endured here, she knows that those who did this to her will now face the consequences of their appalling conduct. I want to commend the work of our law enforcements partners. Without their efforts, this result would not have been possible.”

“This defendant was an armed drug trafficker and part of a group that reigned terror and committed heinous acts of violence in our rural communities,” said ATF Special Agent In Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Field Division. “I commend the efforts of the ATF agents and our Kentucky State Police partners who worked diligently on this year-long investigation to help bring a sense of justice to the victim. I hope this case sends the message that ATF and our law enforcement partners will not standby and allow these acts of violence.”

The investigation was conducted by the ATF and KSP, with assistance provided by the Williamsburg Police Department. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenna E. Reed.

Edmonson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17, 2022.  All four defendants face a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court, after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.

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