An Abbeville man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison for last year's kidnapping of a then 74-year-old Bonaire woman who escaped by jumping out of a sport utility vehicle.
Larry Dean Marchant, 34, also was sentenced to 10 years probation by Houston County Superior Court Judge Edward D. Lukemire.
Marchant must serve 20 years of his sentence before being eligible for parole, District Attorney George Hartwig said.
During the hearing, Marchant, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, apologized to the victim, Patsy Joiner, and her family. Joiner and family members, who also spoke at the hearing, forgave Marchant. His family also spoke on his behalf.
"I think it was fair sentence," Hartwig said afterward by telephone. "We're glad we could close out this portion of the case. I was glad to see him step up and admit what he had done, show some remorse and deal with it."
Marchant previously pleaded guilty to the charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary and theft by taking. His attorney, Public Defender Nick White, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Marchant's co-defendant, Joshua Troy Moore of Warner Robins, is facing trial on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery and burglary. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. Hartwig said Moore may go to trial in May.
"We look forward to getting before a jury and presenting our case on the co-defendant," Hartwig said.
About 2 p.m. on March 19, 2015, Joiner was taking out her trash behind her Wisteria Drive home when she was surprised by a man, later identified as Marchant. He was wearing a ski mask, camouflage shirt and pants, and blue gloves.
Marchant forced Joiner into her home and made her call her credit union and attempt to transfer money from her savings account to her checking account so she could make a withdrawal. He had a black pistol, which turned out to be a fake gun.
He then ordered Joiner to get in her 2007 Lexus RX350 and drive to two credit union offices where she made failed attempts to withdraw money at drive-thru windows. Marchant, who hid under a blanket in the back seat, then told her to drive to her home.
Joiner seized the opportunity to jump out of the vehicle at an intersection on Ga. 247 near her home. She ran to the motorist behind her vehicle for help. Meanwhile, Marchant sped away in her vehicle.
Moore, the co-defendant, is accused of dropping Marchant off at Joiner's home and then picking him up later after Marchant abandoned the woman's vehicle in Warner Robins, according to sheriff's investigators. After Marchant was pulled over during a routine traffic stop, investigators linked to the kidnapping a white Ford F-150 pickup that Moore was driving.
Moore was arrested on a drug possession charge, and his truck was impounded. The investigation then tied Moore to the kidnapping and armed robbery. The men made off with a large handmade blanket, Joiner's purse and her cell phone.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559, or find her on Twitter@becpurser.