Five Plead Guilty in Kemper County Abduction

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Jackson, Miss.
Five people have pleaded guilty in connection with the kidnapping of a 6-year-old girl from East Kemper Elementary School in April.

The woman authorities say orchestrated the plan, Jesse Mae Brown Pollard, and her son, a former basketball player at the University of Alabama, were not among those who pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson.

Authorities say Jesse Pollard planned the abduction to pressure her cousin, the child's mother, in a land dispute.

Wanda Faye Dancy, of DeKalb, Shamarius S. Ruffin, of Porterville, and Shaquayla S. Johnigan, also of Porterville, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap. They each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Joyce M. Johnigan and James S. Johnigan, both of Porterville, pleaded guilty to withholding information on a felony. They each face a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Their sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 22, 2014.

The child was taken from East Kemper Elementary School April 30, 2013, and turned up unharmed on a rural road in Lauderdale County the next day.

The Pollards are scheduled for trial Nov. 18, 2013. Jesse Pollard is charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap and obstruction of justice. She faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $750,000 fine, if convicted. Devonta Pollard is charged with conspiracy to kidnap and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.


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