Leonard Sapp had already spent a lot of years in prison. Now he will spend the rest of his life there.
On Tuesday in Richmond County Superior Court, Judge J. David Roper sentenced Sapp to life without parole and added 44 more years for the Sept. 26 kidnapping of a young woman and her baby from an Augusta gas station.
It was, Roper said, “a jump-out-of-the-bushes kidnapping in a true sense.”
In July, a jury convicted Sapp, 44, of kidnapping with bodily injuries, kidnapping, carjacking and four traffic violations.
Ashley Nay told the jury what happened the night she stopped for gas and a treat for her 2-year-old daughter – how she followed Sapp’s commands about where to drive after he put a knife to her baby’s throat.
Nay tried to stay calm and on Hicks Street in the Harrisburg community she saw an opportunity to escape, she testified. Instead of ignoring what could have appeared to be a domestic dispute, Iguana Mills intervened, getting the baby out of the vehicle and then helping Nay get loose from Sapp, who had begun punching Nay.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Homlar filed a recidivist notice in the case before the trial began. Because of Sapp’s prior felony convictions, any sentence the judge imposed had to be served without the possibility of parole.
Sapp’s criminal history included five felonies for stealing, breaking into a home, robbery, and domestic violence.
Michael Arrington of the public defender’s office asked Roper to consider something less than the maximum penalties. Although life in prison was the only possible sentence for kidnapping with bodily injuries, the kidnapping and carjacking sentencing range is 10 to 20 years.
Noting it was impossible for Sapp not to know he was kidnapping a woman and her child – getting into the vehicle he climbed over the child strapped into her car seat – and that there was sufficient evidence that Sapp used a knife, Roper sentenced him to the maximum possible sentence for each crime and ordered the sentences to run consecutively.