Man Pleads Guilty in Ardmore Kidnapping11-Jan-2016
On November 8, 2014, police in Ardmore received a call about a "possible abduction." The caller told the dispatcher that he heard a little girl screaming and saw a "tall, skinny guy" pick her up and put her into his car before speeding away. The abduction occurred around 3:00 in the afternoon, and several hours later, police issued an Amber Alert that gave a description of the girl and the vehicle--a silver PT Cruiser, but with no tag information available.
In general, law enforcement has only three hours to find an abducted child, or the chances of finding that child alive diminish drastically. In this case, a caller in Marietta, Oklahoma, nearly 20 miles away from Ardmore, called police to report that a neighbor met the suspect description and drove a silver PT Cruiser.
On Sunday morning, several hours after the child was taken, police found her alive in the home of Fount Duston. When confronted by police, Duston pointed a shotgun at them, but police were able to subdue him with a taser and arrest him.
Duston was charged with multiple crimes, including kidnapping, first degree rape, rape by instrumentation, three counts of lewd molestation, furnishing alcohol to a minor, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and feloniously pointing a firearm. In March 2015, a charge of possession of child pornography was added to the litany of charges against him.
Initially, Duston said he intended to plead not guilty to the charges, and an insanity defense was considered until it became clear that Duston did not meet the criteria to use such a defense. In Oklahoma this is typically determined by the "M'Naughten test," which considers whether a person knew right from wrong in committing the act. Read more about the insanity defense in Oklahoma.
Now, more than a year after the abduction, the defendant has pleaded guilty to 14 counts. Because of the seriousness of the charges, he could receive substantial prison time: each lewd molestation charge carries a minimum sentence of 25 years. Each rape count is punishable by five years to life in prison. Prosecutors offered a sentence of life without parole in exchange for his guilty plea, but the defense will ask for a lighter sentence, citing a history of mental illness and childhood abuse as mitigating factors in the case.
Sentencing is set for February 18 in Love County.
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