HILLSBORO — Three Hillsboro residents were sent to prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to abduction charges in Highland County Common Pleas Court.
After hearing remarks from the defendants, Judge Rocky Coss sentenced Virgil Bryant, 63, and Tina Bryant, 52, to a year and a half in prison, and Sabrina Banks, 23, to nine months in prison.
A sentencing hearing for Nathan Day, 26, another defendant in the case, is set for Feb. 7.
As reported by The Times-Gazette, all four defendants pled guilty late last year to charges stemming from the October kidnapping of Tina Bryant’s daughter in the parking lot of the old Pamida building in Greenfield.
According to law enforcement reports, the victim and two other women had arranged to meet Tina Bryant in the area. While they were there, a group of masked individuals later identified as the defendants arrived, and used tasers and pepper spray to subdue the three women.
The defendants took the victim to a barn on Dunn Road, reports said, and tied her to a lawn mower, according to the judge.
Coss said the victim was later able to get away.
According to reports, the victim said Virgil Bryant held a gun to her head during the kidnapping.
During sentencing, Coss said it was unclear to him why the defendants kidnapped the victim. In some narratives, he said, it was because the victim stole as much as $50,000 in cash from the Bryants and they were trying to get it back, but in other versions of the story, the judge said it was indicated that an exchange of drugs was somehow involved.
The Bryants’ lawyer, Jack Bradley, told the judge that the couple had planned to buy property and retire in Florida, and had cash locked in a safe. When they found it had been taken, presumably by the victim, they panicked, he said.
“They know they made a serious, serious error,” he said.
In remarks to the court, Virgil and Tina Bryant said they didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
“We didn’t mean no harm,” Virgil Bryant said.
Tina Bryant said the victim had taken money from them, and they assumed she was going to use it to buy drugs. The kidnapping was only intended to “scare” her daughter into returning the money, she said.
Coss said the act was “way past the realm of legality and common sense,” adding that using pepper spray and tasers to kidnap a family member is behavior that “cannot be tolerated.”
“This is something that cannot go unpunished,” he said.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.