Attorney JP Roman-Lagunas Secures Time-Served Misdemeanor Plea For Client Facing Decades In Prison

No jail time for brother of abducted teens

INDIANAPOLIS STAR

See Original Indianapolis Star Article:
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2015/11/12/no-jail-time-brother-abducted-teens/75665950/
Additional Sources:
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20151023/news/310239874/
http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Brother-charged-in-2-teens-kidnapping-case-to-6586519.php
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/23/brother-charged-in-2-teens-kidnapping-case-to-plea/

The brother of two Indianapolis teenagers kidnapped at gunpoint in March pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday.

The brother of two Indianapolis teenagers kidnapped at gunpoint in March as part of an elaborate scheme to retrieve tens of thousands of dollars in drug money won’t serve any more time in jail, a Marion Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Stanley Pernell, 20, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement for his role in the incident. He initially faced felony burglary and drug-dealing conspiracy charges in the case.

Pernell told The Indianapolis Star during a jailhouse interview in March that his older sister had tasked him with tracking down hidden stacks of cash she took from an alleged Detroit drug dealer. The money was to be taken to a rendezvous point in Miami, so his family could ensure the safe return of Pernell’s younger siblings, Aaron and Emma Blackwell.

Federal officials claim the teens were kidnapped by John Thomas, whom Pernell’s sister, Whitney Blackwell, was dating and living with in Detroit. Officials said Aaron, 16, and Emma, 13, were kidnapped, after Blackwell stole money, cocaine and other drugs from Thomas and fled to Indianapolis.

The abductions of Aaron and Emma from their Indianapolis home in the 1200 block of LaSalle Street prompted an Amber Alert and a regionwide search by federal, state and local officials. Police found Aaron blindfolded and with his hands bound in an SUV luggage area after tailing the vehicle through Detroit. Emma, officials said, was taken to Dayton, Ohio, and dropped off at a Taco Bell. She told police her kidnappers left her with $200 for cab fare back to Indianapolis.

The amount of cash Blackwell stole is in dispute. She told The Star she took $43,000; other court documents allege the amount ranged from $120,000 to $250,000.

In March, Pernell told The Star he was not fearful of Thomas, adding: “I’m just doing my time, and when I get out, I’m going to go about my everyday, day-to-day life.”

Pernell was sentenced to 150 days in jail but given credit for the 75 days he already served after his arrest in March. The remainder of his sentence was suspended, meaning Pernell won’t have to spend any additional time behind bars.

Had the felony charges remained, Pernell could have faced decades in prison.

Last month, Pernell’s attorney, J.P. Roman Lagunas, called his client’s agreement a “fair and just resolution.”

“We’ll be happy to put this case behind us,” Roman Lagunas said at the time.

Other cases connected to the kidnapping and drug-money plots, including Blackwell’s, are still pending. She was initially charged in March with conspiracy to commit dealing in cocaine and other narcotics-related charges.

Thomas was indicted in federal court along with five other people in the kidnapping. That trial is expected some time next year.

Call Star reporter Jill Disis at (317) 444-6137. Follow her on Twitter: @jdisis.

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