JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has postponed a sentencing hearing in the kidnapping case involving an Arkansas man who was abducted from home and taken at gunpoint to a Mississippi casino to cash a $2,000 check.
Prosecutors say Oliver Anderson ruined his abductors' plans by screaming for help in the Isle of Capri casino, causing them to run off.
Patrick Hollowell had been scheduled for sentencing Feb. 23. The sentencing was delayed until further notice after the presiding judge, W. Allen Pepper Jr., died of a heart attack Jan. 24. The case has been reassigned to U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills.
Hollowell's attorney, Justin Cluck, had no comment on the case.
Dennis Lee Andrews was recently sentenced to 22 years in the case. He has filed a notice of appeal. Athena Marie Byrd is scheduled for sentencing March 1. Their attorneys didn't immediately respond Monday to messages left for comment.
The Arkansas trio allegedly planned to make it appear that Byrd, described in court records as the victim's friend or part-time girlfriend, was being held for ransom in February 2011. Hollowell pleaded guilty to helping abduct Anderson from his home. Prosecutors say Byrd and Andrews took Anderson to the casino to cash the check.
All three defendants pleaded guilty in the case. Pepper had said the defendants are dangerous and ordered them held without bond.
Andrews has filed notices that he will appeal the case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Andrews had allegedly confessed to an FBI agent investigating the crime. He told the agent that he was using methamphetamine and popping pills and hanging out with Hollowell and Byrd on Feb. 2, 2011, when the three hatched a scheme to scam Anderson, according to court records.
Byrd went to Anderson's house first so she would be there when the others arrived. Andrews and Hollowell arrived and held Anderson and Byrd at gunpoint. The woman said she owed Andrews and Hollowell $2,000. They stole binoculars, pistols and other items from Anderson's house but weren't satisfied, records show.
Andrews and Byrd forced Anderson to write the check, then loaded him into a car at gunpoint and drove across the Mississippi River to the Isle of Capri Casino in Coahoma County, Miss.
Once at a teller's window inside the casino, "Anderson screamed that he was being kidnapped, or words to that effect," the indictment said. The abductors fled and dumped the gun at the home of an acquaintance.
Andrews pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy and using a gun during a violent crime. Hollowell pleaded guilty in the same month to conspiracy, kidnapping and using a gun during a violent crime. Byrd pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy and kidnapping.
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