Court rules 3 charged in kidnapping plot can return to US

Jan 31, 2022, 2:41 PM | Updated: 4:26 pm

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A court in Scotland has denied an appeal by three people charged in a failed kidnapping-murder plot in Virginia, paving the way for them to be extradited back to the United States to stand trial, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Prosecutors said Valerie Hayes, Gary Reburn, and Jennifer Amnott fled to the United Kingdom after the attempted 2018 kidnapping of five children in a Mennonite community in Dayton, Virginia. U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh said in a news release that the three have repeatedly sought to block their extradition back to the U.S., where they face a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

Kavanaugh said the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland denied their appeal Friday and determined there is no bar to their extradition.

“I am grateful to see the extradition process proceeding,” Kavanaugh said. “This community was shocked when these events occurred and the underlying plot was uncovered.”

Hayes, Reburn, and Amnott are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping involving children, conspiracy to kill witnesses with the intent to prevent communication with law enforcement, kidnapping, attempting kidnapping, attempted killing of a witness, and firearms offenses.

Jennifer Amnott’s husband, Frank Jesse Amnott, pleaded guilty in December 2019 to one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to kill witnesses and one count of using a firearm in commission of a federal crime of violence.

In court documents, prosecutors say the Amnotts were living in Florida in July 2018 when Hayes contacted them and said three of her children had been kidnapped and were in the custody of two separate Mennonite families in Dayton, Virginia. Prosecutors have said none of the children they planned to kidnap were related to any of the defendants.

Prosecutors alleged that Hayes — who was then living with Reburn in Maryland — knew the Amnotts could not have their own children and promised that if they helped her kidnap the total of five children, they could keep one of the other children as their own. Prosecutors said that in order to carry out the kidnappings, the four planned to kill the parents of the children.

According to prosecutors, Hayes, Reburn and Frank Amnott tried to carry out the plan July 29, 2018. They said Hayes approached the door of the first house, disguised in clothing to appear as a Mennonite. When the father opened the door, they allegedly forced their way inside and held him at gunpoint.

The mother ran outside and called 911. A deputy with the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office responded and thwarted the plot. Prosecutors said the deputy found Frank Amnott in the basement holding one of the parents at gunpoint.

Prosecutors said Hayes, Reburn and Jennifer Amnott fled to Scotland in August 2018. They were apprehended and have been fighting extradition to the U.S.

Attorneys for Hayes, Reburn and Jennifer Amnott could not immediately be reached for comment. Kavanaugh said further appeals of the extradition are possible.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a...
Associated Press

Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday. But it turned out the cruiser wasn’t alone as it sailed about 86 miles (138 kilometers) north of Alaska’s Kiska Island, on Sept. 19. The patrol boat, known […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Appeals court blocks California ban on for-profit prisons

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A larger panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday again blocked California’s first-in-the-nation ban on for-profit private prisons and immigration detention facilities, finding that it is trumped by the federal government. A three-judge appellate panel last year rejected the 2019 state law that would have phased out […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-Nigerian official gets 5 years for pandemic fraud in US

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Nigerian government official was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 in pandemic relief benefits in the United States. Abidemi Rufai was wearing a $10,000 watch and $35,000 gold chain when he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York on his way to […]
18 hours ago
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during a bill signing in Phoenix, Arizona, April 15, 2021...
Associated Press

Valid signature numbers debated in Arizona voucher challenge

Supporters of an expansion of Arizona’s private school voucher system said public school advocates failed to file enough signatures to temporarily block the law.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-Alaska attorney general pleads not guilty to sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Alaska attorney general pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he sexually abused a minor three decades ago when he was the alleged victim’s high school coach. Clyde “Ed” Sniffen, 58, entered his plea through his attorney, Jeffrey Robinson. Both appeared telephonically. Judge William Morse said a trial scheduling conference […]
18 hours ago
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs com...
Associated Press

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema defends bipartisanship at McConnell Center

Members of Congress face "intense pressure" to play to the extreme elements of their own party, Kyrsten Sinema argued in a speech.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Court rules 3 charged in kidnapping plot can return to US