An Independence man who was one of four people accused of kidnapping someone in 2017 was sentenced to federal prison Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City.
Justin D. Watson, 23, was ordered to serve eight years in prison without parole. He pleaded guilty last November to one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and one count of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.
Watson admitted to kidnapping a male victim with the help of three co-conspirators in March 2017, prosecutors said.
According to court records, Watson helped kidnap the victim and drove from Kansas City toward Colorado in the victim’s car. During the incident, the alleged kidnappers used the victim’s credit card to withdraw $1,200 from an ATM at a Kansas truck stop and buy athletic shoes from a Hays, Kan., sporting goods store.
At one point, the group stopped near Russell, Kan., and told the victim to get out of the car. Prosecutors said Watson held a gun while others tied the victim up and gagged him. The conspirators drove away, leaving the victim in a field.
Prosecutors said the victim untied himself and went to a local police department for help.
Days after the kidnapping, Kansas City police arrested Watson during a traffic stop. Police said he was driving the victim’s car.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Independence Police Department.