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Kidnapper sentenced to life in prison

A Pike County jury found Charles K. Johns guilty of kidnapping Thursday and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Johns, convicted of kidnapping 2nd degree, was also found guilty on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed firearm in connection with a Jan. 14, 2002 episode at the Pike County Courthouse.

He held courthouse security officer Peggy Scott hostage while demanding to see probate court records concerning a land ownership dispute.

"I am very satisfied that a message was that we in Pike County are not going to tolerate people coming to our governmental buildings, taking hostages at gunpoint and placing the lives and safety of citizens and workers in danger," said District Attorney Gary McAliley, who tried the case. "That message has been sent."

Thursday morning, McAliley was able to impeach Johns' testimony. On Wednesday, Johns had testified that his intent was not to harm anyone during the incident, but Sheriff Russell Thomas testified that during arrest Johns told him "I came to kill someone today."

The jury deliberated about two hours before returning the guilty verdict.