A 45-year-old man was convicted by a jury Tuesday of kidnapping a woman and her 4-year-old son by forcing them into her car outside a New Hampshire mall and bringing them to Vermont while he was searching for his estranged wife.
The Vermont office of the United States Attorney said the federal court jury returned the guilty verdicts against Everett Simpson on two counts of kidnapping and two counts of interstate car theft. The case went to the jury earlier Tuesday.
“Although the harms suffered by Everett Simpson’s victims are indelible, today’s across-the-board guilty verdict represents a significant step in holding Everett Simpson responsible for the heinous crimes he committed on Jan. 5, 2019,” the statement said.
Simpson faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and could be sentenced to life. Sentencing will come at a later date.
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Simpson admitted before the jury on Monday that he left a Vermont drug treatment center shortly after he was dropped off there on the night of Jan. 4, 2019, for court-ordered substance abuse treatment from another case.
He stole a van parked in a nearby driveway and drove it to Manchester, New Hampshire, where it was abandoned the next day. Simpson acknowledged driving back to White River Junction, Vermont, with the alleged victim and her son in her car. But he said the woman had agreed to do so and that she had opportunities to leave had she wanted.
The woman and her child were taken to a Vermont motel. Simpson then took the victim’s car to Pennsylvania, where he was eventually arrested.
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Court documents say the victim was sexually assaulted while in the motel, but the federal charges did not include sexual assault. Simpson is, however, facing separate state sexual assault charges.
Simpson said he fled the treatment center because he was trying to find his estranged wife, who he believed was having a relationship with another man.
In 2020, the woman received $400,000 in the settlement of a lawsuit accusing the state of Vermont of not doing enough to find Simpson after he left the treatment center. In court last week, the woman said she had received a sizable settlement from the treatment center, but the exact amount is unclear.