Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ky. man faces 44 years in kidnapping

The Associated Press
and Enquirer staff

A former Highlands High School football standout faces 30 to 44 years in prison after being found guilty of kidnapping and other charges related to the restraint of a Versailles woman in 2002.

Phillip Whaley, 38, of Fort Thomas, was found guilty Monday of holding the woman hostage for ransom.

The July 2002 kidnapping ended a weeklong manhunt for Whaley across Northern Kentucky after police charged him with a string of burglaries.

On Monday, Woodford Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs also found Whaley guilty of second-degree escape, receiving stolen property, second-degree wanton endangerment and third-degree criminal mischief. Isaacs also found Whaley guilty of being a persistent felony offender, which enhances the penalties.

Isaacs did not decide whether Whaley should serve his prison terms consecutively - one after the other - or concurrently, saying he won't make that determination until he sees a pre-sentencing report. Depending on that decision, Whaley faces 30 to 44 years when he is sentenced Aug. 4.

Whaley, a Desert Shield veteran who police said had a drug problem, was convicted of kidnapping Betty Redden outside of Cable's Furniture and Appliances and holding her hostage with a knife for nearly an hour.

Whaley took the stand and began crying as he read a statement in which he apologized for any hurt he'd caused. Redden left the courtroom as Whaley began reading.

"I will not pretend to know how you feel," Whaley said. "I would only hope she would find a place in her heart to forgive."

Redden had no comment after the trial.

In July 2002, officers from 11 police agencies in Northern Kentucky searched door to door for Whaley after warrants were issued charging him with a string of burglaries in Boone and Campbell counties and Clermont County in Ohio.

Four days later, Whaley grabbed Bedden in front the Versailles furniture store, held a knife to her throat and walked into the store demanding to speak with a police negotiator. He released her about an hour later and was subdued.

After his arrest, Whaley jumped from a second-story window while handcuffed at the Versailles Police Department.

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