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W.Va. woman pleads guilty in kidnap case

August 06, 1997

W.Va. woman pleads guilty in kidnap case

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Kearneysville woman charged in the kidnapping and attempted murder of a Maryland man who was thrown into the Potomac River and left for dead last summer was sentenced Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Court to 20 years in state prison, a prosecutor said.

Tammy Reel, 32, of Kearneysville, had pleaded guilty to kidnapping in the Aug. 2, 1996, incident in which she lured Donald Milligan into a Days Inn motel room where Mark Johnson of Shenandoah Junction tried to kill him, according to testimony at Johnson's trial in June.

Believing that Milligan was dead after Johnson choked him, the pair stuffed him into the trunk of his own car while they drove around trying to buy crack cocaine, according to testimony.

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Milligan, then 50, pretended to be dead, according to testimony. Johnson dumped him into the Potomac River and Milligan was able to swim to safety, testimony showed.

Johnson was convicted by a jury of kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Thompson said.

Reel testified for the prosecution in Johnson's trial. Under her plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to kidnapping in exchange for having her other charges dropped, Thompson said.

Reel's sentence will run concurrently with a 10-year federal sentence she had earlier received for running a crack house in the Charles Town area, according to federal district court records.

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