Virginia man gets probation for abduction

Amber Gillenwater

March 12, 2014

GALLIPOLIS — A Virginia man arrested last year on a charges of kidnapping and domestic violence, after he allegedly held his wife against her will, was sentenced Tuesday in Gallia County Common Pleas Court.

Matthew L. Rupe, 33, of Galax, Va., was arrested by Gallia County sheriff’s deputies June 25, 2013, at a residence on Ohio 7 South, according to reports.

A warrant was issued for Rupe’s arrest June 21 after charges of domestic violence and kidnapping were approved by the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office and filed with the Gallipolis Municipal Court.

According to the police report, Rupe’s wife, who lives in Patriot, reported to the sheriff’s office on June 19 that two days prior, she and her husband were traveling on Bunce Road with their two children, ages 7 and 6, when her husband pulled off the road and began to assault her. Her husband allegedly began punching her in the face, pulling her hair, hitting her head against the steering wheel and physically restraining her. The suspect also allegedly told her that he was going to kill her with a knife.

After talking him out of harming her and the children, the victim told officers that Rupe drove her to his sister’s house in Virginia against her will.

After the victim’s mother, who was unable to locate her daughter, contacted local authorities in Virginia, the victim was able to leave the residence with the help of law enforcement, according to reports. The victim was then able to get a ride to Gallia County.

At the time the report was taken, the victim reportedly had visible bruises and marks from the assault.

At the time of Rupe’s arrest, Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said the suspect — who also made his way back to Gallia County following the incident — was found by law enforcement inside a private Gallia County residence at about 1 a.m. June 25 and subsequently arrested.

He later appeared in Gallipolis Municipal Court and his bond was set at $500,000, 10 percent. A preliminary hearing was conducted last July in Municipal Court and the case was bound over to the Common Pleas Court, where it was heard by a grand jury.

During his arraignment hearing last year, Rupe pleaded not guilty to a first-degree felony charge of kidnapping and a fourth-degree felony charge of domestic violence.

Last August, his bond was reduced to $50,000, 10 percent, and he has remained in custody throughout court proceedings.

A proposed guilty plea was later filed in the case in January, and Rupe pleaded guilty to a charge of abduction, a felony of the third degree, and a lesser offense than kidnapping.

Rupe was sentenced Tuesday to 24 months of community control for abduction. He was further ordered to have no contact with the person or property of the victim, given credit for 260 days already served and ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.