A man who took off with his girlfriend’s children in the vehicle has been sentenced to 3½ years in prison for the two-hour ordeal, according to court records.
Jacob T. Richardson, 21, 911 Yandes St., Franklin, was ordered to prison after he pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the incident that started in Franklin and ended in Greenfield last year.
This is his third felony conviction. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to failure to return to lawful detention and strangulation, both felonies, and a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery, and the victim was the same woman involved in the 2016 incident, according to court records.
Richardson and his girlfriend had gotten into a dispute on Graham Road on the evening of Oct. 10. While she was driving, he kept putting his hands on the steering wheel, trying to force her off the road, according to court documents.
When she tried to call police, he threw her phone and broke it, then forced her out of the vehicle and left, with the woman’s 1- and 4-year-old children in the vehicle, prompting temporary panic that they had been kidnapped. The mother was hurt when he was climbing on top of her while she was driving and when he shoved her out of the vehicle, court documents said.
Police and the children’s mother called Richardson, but he wouldn’t say where he was, gave other acquaintances false stories and also said he was going to take the children somewhere and kill himself. Police considered issuing an Amber Alert, but dispatchers were able to track Richardson’s phone to Greenfield, where he and the children were found in a Walmart parking lot.
Richardson was arrested on a charge of domestic battery, interference with reporting a crime, kidnapping, auto theft, criminal mischief and criminal confinement.
The Johnson County Prosecutor’s office filed two felony charges, domestic battery and auto theft, and three misdemeanor charges for interference with reporting a crime, criminal mischief and criminal recklessness.
Deputy prosecutor Shaina Carmichael said she did not file the kidnapping charge because she did not think she could prove that Richardson intended to kidnap the children, she said. The domestic battery charge was filed as a level 5 felony, which is the same level offense as kidnapping, she said.
Richardson pleaded guilty to domestic battery, auto theft and interference with reporting a crime and was sentenced by Johnson County Superior Court 2 Judge Cynthia Emkes to three years and six months, to be served in a state prison and the Johnson County jail. He was given credit for 136 days already served, according to court documents.
His sentencing came just more than four months after the incident, a fact which should be noted, Carmichael said.
“I recommended an aggravated, fully executed sentence for Richardson,” Carmichael said in a written statement. “While the facts in this case were troubling and did merit an aggravated sentence, I believe some credit should go to him for his willingness to spare the victim from a trial. Additionally, his acceptance of responsibility so quickly allowed the victim to see a quick resolution to the case.”