NEW BERN – A Fayetteville man who kidnapped his girlfriend from Robeson County in June 2017 and took her to a vacant residence in Cumberland County was sentenced to 151 months in prison on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced Joseph Luther Higdon Jr., 29, to the 12.5 years in prison along with another three years of supervised release.
Lewis was indicted on Dec. 20, 2017, and pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon, as well as possession of a stolen firearm on May 15.
According to court records, nn June 25, 2017, the Fayetteville Police Department responded to a domestic violence call placed by Lewis’ girlfriend at the time. She stated Lewis had lost $1,000 gambling and lamed her for his loss. As a result, Lewis, armed with a handgun, traveled from Fayetteville to Robeson County and forcibly abducted her. He then took her to a vacant house in Fayetteville, where Lewis planned to prostitute her to recoup his money.
“During his girlfriends’ abduction, and while driving through Robeson County, she jumped from Lewis’ moving vehicle in an effort to flee …” stated Don Connelly, law enforcement coordinator/public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Nevertheless, Lewis turned his vehicle around, pointed his gun at her, and forced her back inside his vehicle. Once they arrived in Fayetteville, Lewis kicked and punched her in the face several times.”
When the Fayetteville officers arrived at the vacant residence, the girlfriend’s face was reportedly visibly swollen. She had a chipped tooth and scrapes on her nose and mouth, as well as abrasions to her feet, legs and arms. She stated that, prior to the FPD’s arrival, Lewis threatened to hit her with his handgun.
As law enforcement approached the vacant residence, Lewis threw his gun into a wooded area before he was taken into custody without incident.
A search of Lewis’ vehicle revealed multiple gunshot holes in the rear and front of his vehicle. His girlfriend stated Lewis was involved in a gunfight with another drug dealer early that day in Fayetteville. Lewis’ firearm, a stolen 9mm handgun, was subsequently located in the woods where she watched him discard it.
The Fayetteville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kurosad handled the prosecution of this case for the government.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-506-3023 or [email protected]