W.Va. kidnapper pleads guilty
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - In what the prosecuting attorney called a rare case of accepting responsibility, Leonard Austin Ellinger Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to kidnapping a 7-year-old girl, a charge that carries a life sentence.
Ellinger, 32, of Kearneysville, W.Va., was sentenced immediately after his plea was entered in Berkeley County Circuit Court.
Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said she agreed to the plea because the child was returned physically unharmed. The plea agreement included a mercy clause, making Ellinger eligible for parole in 10 years.
"In this case, he did not physically injure this child and you have to give him credit for that," Games-Neely said, adding that many abducted children aren't as fortunate.