NEW HANOVER COUNTY — One of four defendants who is charged with kidnapping and assaulting a man in Wilmington pleaded guilty June 14 in New Hanover County Superior Court.
Richard Carl Blanton, 32, entered an Alford plea deal to first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
An accused party can enter an Alford plea, without formally admitting guilt, though it “acknowledges that there is sufficient evidence for a judge or jury to convict the defendant,” the New Hanover County’s District Attorney’s Office noted in a release.
The victim indicated Blanton was one of the primary aggressors. When interviewed by detectives, Blanton admitted to hitting the victim several times while in the hotel room but blamed others involved — Alvin Sabatell, Kimberly Martinez, and Kayla Floyd — for excessive violence.
The incident occurred in March, when police responded to the McDonald’s at 4301 Market St. shortly after 6:30 a.m. They found a victim had been severely beaten. He reported having been lured to the Travel Inn by one of the women involved in the case, who he had met a few days prior.
Once he arrived at the motel, he reported being held at knifepoint, stripped naked, tied up, and assaulted for hours by the group with lighters, cigarettes, a tow rope, a belt and other weapons. He also told law enforcement the four assailants threatened to kill him after accusing him of sexually assaulting one of the women involved, an accusation the victim denied.
The defendants stole the victim’s phone, wallet, keys and GMC Sierra truck, reported at a $20,000 value. Two of the defendants used the truck as a getaway car, but Blanton and Martinez, 22, were arrested that night at Market Street and Kerr Avenue.
The victim ultimately escaped the room to run to the nearby McDonald’s for help. He was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and treated for a broken nose and multiple injuries.
Four days later, the other two defendants, Sabatell, 27 and 33-year-old Floyd were found near 8th and Queen streets. They were arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault by strangulation.
Charges are still pending for Floyd, Sabatell and Martinez. Blanton, a Pender County resident, will serve up to 8.75 years in prison.
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