Judge hands down maximum sentence
by Michelle Miller
GALLIPOLIS - Judge D. Dean Evans handed down the maximum sentence to a Columbus man found guilty of kidnapping last week.
Octic Pace, 32, was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a short hearing on Thursday.
Pace's attorney, John Lentes, asked the court to consider a lesser sentence based on several factors, including a previous plea offer and Pace's actions following the accident.
During the trial, both witnesses said Pace had freed James Derrick Armstrong from the trunk while Pace's accomplice, William Newcomb, allegedly wanted to burn the vehicle with Armstrong inside.
Newcomb, who pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of abduction in July with a two-year prison sentence, failed to show for his sentencing and is currently at large.
Lentes told the court that Newcomb was clearly the person in charge during the incident and that his client, Pace, should not be punished for executing his constitutional right of trial by jury.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Eric Mulford informed the court of Pace's previous convictions and charges in other counties and said Pace has shown no remorse for his actions.
Lentes countered, saying that whether or not Pace has shown remorse for his actions could not be judged by the state, because Pace did not take the stand during the trial.
In the end, Evans sentenced Pace to 10 years, citing his previous convictions and the impact the incident had on the victim as reasons.
Pace was also ordered to have no contact with the victim; was credited time already served and placed on a $500,000 ten percent appeal bond.
Lentes was reappointed as Pace's attorney for appeal.
Pace was arrested and charged with the Dec. 10, 2006 kidnapping of Armstrong at his Bidwell residence.
Pace and Newcomb duct-taped Armstrong's arms and legs and put him in the trunk. Shortly after leaving the residence, the car wrecked and overturned on Pyles Road in Walnut Township and Pace, Newcomb, Armstrong and Erica Darst, the owner of the vehicle, walked through the woods until Armstrong eventually collapsed, reportedly from his injuries.
Armstrong was able to make it to a nearby residence and the owners called for help.
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