CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The man accused of kidnapping a 4-year-old girl from Johns Island appeared in federal court Wednesday and is expected to plead guilty.
Thomas Lawton Evans Jr., 37, appeared at the U.S. District Court in downtown Charleston for his pre-trial hearing Wednesday. His attorney, Ann Walsh, wasn’t present in court, but Charlie Cochran represented Evans. Cochran says Evans will plead guilty to all three federal charges he is facing.
JUST IN- Thomas Lawton Evans, the man accused of kidnapping a 4 y/o Johns Island girl, will plead guilty for all 3 federal charges he’s facing #chsnews @WCBD pic.twitter.com/4TxMTZx4hQ— Deanne Roberts (@DeanneWCBD) August 29, 2018
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams, he asked for a plea hearing to be scheduled for September, but the judge did not schedule the hearing during the trial.
Moving forward, a judge will schedule a plea hearing. Evans will either plead guilty or not guilty to the federal charges. The judge will either accept or reject the plea. If the hearing goes as planned and Evans’ pleads guilty, and the judge accepts the plea, the judge will schedule a sentencing hearing and the case won’t go to trial.
United States Attorney Beth Drake announced that Thomas Lawton Evans Jr., 37, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, was charged in a three count federal indictment.
Count One charges Kidnapping Involving a Person Under the Age of 18, and is punishable by a minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years and up to life. Count Two charges Transportation of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity, and is punishable by a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and up to life. Count Three charges Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Person under the age of Twelve, which is punishable by a minimum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a maximum sentence of life.
Evans was initially charged with a federal complaint. An arraignment date for his current federal charges has been set for March 27, 2018 at 9:45 in the Charleston Federal Courthouse, 85 Meeting St. Evans also faces several charges in state court.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Charleston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Nathan Williams and Nick Bianchi are prosecuting the case.
The United States Attorney stated that all charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.