A man who held his grandmother captive for three days is going to prison for at least seven years.
Thomas Arrington, 33, was sentenced in Haywood County Superior Court last Tuesday morning by Judge Brad Letts after pleading guilty to first-degree kidnapping and felony abuse of a disabled or elderly adult.
Although the case was on the Sept. 16 trial calendar, it was brought to plea on a deal that dismissed several other charges, including communicating threats, assault inflicting serious injury, assault by strangulation, interfering with emergency communications and interfering with a state’s witness.
Assistant district attorney Kate Wrenn recalled the facts of the case for the court. Although the offenses were noted to have occurred over a three-day span last year, it began on Oct. 19 when Arrington first assaulted the then-80-year-old woman.
“The defendant had pushed her down that night because he was angry over money,” Wrenn said.
“The defendant would walk by and call her names … he would also kick and punch her,” she added.
The day after Arrington shoved his grandmother to the floor, Arrington grabbed her by the arms, moved her into a bedroom and barricaded the door with a mattress.
“She was not provided with food or drink at any time,” Wrenn said.
In addition, Arrington cut off the heat to the home to make things more uncomfortable for his grandmother and also told her he “would cut her cat’s head off and burn the house down.” On several occasions, he called out to ask her if she was dead yet.
Finally, on Oct. 22, Arrington gave his grandmother a phone so she could call 911.
“She said she thought if it wasn’t for the dog who laid beside her, she wouldn’t have survived,” Wrenn said.
And Wrenn wasn’t far off, as it was noted that a doctor had said the victim’s kidneys were mere hours from shutting down.
Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Joel Schechet said that although his client was deemed competent to stand trial earlier this year, his prior significant mental illness diagnoses should serve as a mitigating factor.
“I have the strong belief he doesn’t know or understand what happened,” Schechet said.
“I’m not convinced a prolonged stay in a correctional facility is the right answer, especially with his mental illness,” he added.
While Judge Letts determined that and the fact Arrington owned up to the crimes early on were mitigating factors, he still gave Arrington a fairly serious sentence of 84-122 months (7-10.2 years) in prison, less 310 days of pretrial confinement. In addition, Arrington was ordered to pay $3,431.60 in restitution for medical bills and must never again make contact with the victim.