Gilbert sex offender sentenced to 25 years after kidnapping female from restaurant parking lot
The Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office announced that Christopher Jody Jennings, 47, from Gilbert, pled guilty Tuesday to kidnapping and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct against a 21-year-old woman.
Jennings was sentenced to 25 years in prison on both of these charges. He also pled guilty to carjacking and received a concurrent 20-year sentence. According to the solicitor’s office, the the kidnapping/carjacking occurred in Lexington County, and the assault occurred in Aiken County. All three charges are considered “no parole” offenses in South Carolina.
According to officials, the victim went to pick up food from Shealy’s Bar-B-Que in Batesburg-Leesville for her birthday dinner with her parents November 8, 2016. When she did not return home, her parents attempted to call her and eventually drove around looking for approximately one hour. Unable to locate their daughter, her parents called 911. The Batesburg-Leesville Police Department and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department began looking for the victim and her vehicle.
Video surveillance showed the victim entering her vehicle, when Jennings rushed up to her SUV. Jennings approached the opened driver’s side door and forced the victim to move over to the passenger’s seat.
According to documents, Jennings threatened the victim’s life, alleging he had a gun and that he has killed before. He crossed county lines and drove her into Monetta, in Aiken County. Jennings forced the victim out of the vehicle, and attempted to sexually assault her multiple times. Officials note she was able to resist him and convinced him to stop.
Law enforcement located the victim’s SUV after several hours in Batesburg-Leesville and conducted a traffic stop, where the vehicle pulled into a parking lot. Jennings jumped out and ran from the officer. With use of a K-9 officer, Jennings was apprehended a short distance away.
The solicitor’s office noted that Jennings is a convicted sex offender with a previous conviction for criminal sexual conduct – first degree, from 2005 and received a 15-year sentence.