An Alabama lawyer is headed to prison after orchestrating a kidnapping that nearly cost his hostage a finger — and his genitals.
The lawyer's motive? It was all over $60 the victim was supposed to pay the lawyer in exchange for some tires, prosecutors said.
On Thursday, a judge sentenced James William Woolley, 52, to 20 years in prison on the robbery, kidnapping and attempted murder charges that a jury convicted Woolley of last month, the Birmingham News reports.
Woolley’s kidnapping plot was set into motion on Jan. 25, 2016, with some help from an accomplice. Kimberly Murphy, 33, lured the victim to her Birmingham home by promising she would return a piercing kit the victim had left there, according to prosecutors.
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Once the victim got to Murphy’s house, she led him to the basement. As the victim made his way down the stairs holding a flashlight, he noticed two men in hazmat suits — one of them holding a gun, the Birmingham News reports.
It was Woolley and his male accomplice, Monique Roscoe, 42, prosecutors said. The pair forced their victim to continue down the stairs at gunpoint. The victim noticed the floor of the basement had been covered in plastic, and that there were tools everywhere, prosecutors said. The victim was shoved onto a couch.
Then the men began tormenting their victim. Woolley and Roscoe held him at gunpoint and struck him over the head with the blunt side of a machete, according to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
All the while, the men questioned their victim about $60 the victim purportedly owed Woolley for tires, according to the Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted Woolley. Woolley and Roscoe robbed the victim of his wallet, phone and other personal items.
The men also pulled out bolt cutters and told their victim to pick a finger for them to cut off. The victim responded by insisting that he wasn’t aware of the debt, the Birmingham News reports.
After that, the men set the bolt cutters against the victim’s genitals and threatened to use the tool to slice off his penis. They also told their victim repeatedly that “it was his last day on earth” and that they were going to kill him, prosecutors said.
But Before the men could kill him — or remove his fingers or genitals — they got a phone call. That was the victim’s lucky break. As his tormentors were distracted, the victim ran for the stairs and quickly scaled them, prosecutors said. Roscoe fired his gun at the victim, but he’d already made it outside the house. Roscoe followed him outside and continued firing.
The victim jumped a fence and, from the safety of a neighbor’s house, called police, prosecutors said. None of the shots had hit him.
Woolley’s defense lawyers argued in court that the victim was an unreliable drug user who “was probably high” and made up the incident, the Birmingham News reports. They also argued that Woolley found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"It's just like going to Cracker Barrel," defense attorney Lois Beasley-Carlisle said in court, according to the Birmingham News. "Someone comes in and does something, you aren't responsible for something that person does after you walk in."
Roscoe has pleaded guilty to robbery and attempted assault charges. Murphy faced lesser charges because she left after the victim arrived, prosecutors said. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. Both testified at Woolley’s trial.