CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Thomas Lawton Evans Jr. will spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping a 4-year-old Johns Island girl and nearly beating her mother to death.
Evans received three consecutive life sentences for kidnapping the young girl in February 2018, taking her across state lines and sexually assaulting her before he was apprehended in Mississippi. Evans also confessed to nearly beating her mother, Brittany Todd, to death and robbing the family.
During the hearing, Federal Judge Norton hurled some harsh words at Evans, saying, “He’s a sorry excuse for a human being, get him out of here.”
Brittany Todd, a survivor, faced her attacker in court Tuesday.
“Nothing in my life runs the same in my family like before February 13,” Brittany said.
Brittany said she spent a week in the surgical unit following the attack and had three surgeries. According to her husband, they spent $361,000 on medical bills so far.
“I couldn’t care for my kids for four months,” Todd said. “You [Evans] planned evil against me, but I truly believe God spared your life and my life. I will never get back what I lost, but I’m moving forward.”
Kevin Todd, Brittany’s husband, also faced Evans in court. Kevin is a member of the Coast Guard who left for duty two days before the attack and kidnapping.
Kevin said, in the following months after the attack he had more hatred than ever. “I mentally went into an evil space and wanted to do terrible things to Thomas Evans,” Kevin said.
He said he has not been able to deploy for special assignments out of fear of leaving his family.
“Mr. Evans, you did not win,” he said. Kevin said because of his family’s faith in God and their grit, their 4-year-old daughter loves school and doesn’t think about the “bad guy.” He also said his relationships with his wife and kids are stronger than ever.
Kevin looked Evans in his eyes and said, “My ultimate goal is to forgive you.”
Evans had his attorney speak on his behalf and she said he was “stunned and overwhelmed” by the comments that were made. She said he was speechless and can’t bring words to the courtroom that will make them feel better.
Judge David Norton said in his 29 years, this is the single worse offense he has seen.
“This was random, brutal and senseless,” Norton said.
Norton said Evans committed this crime only two weeks after serving nine years in prison, and while have 11 major incidents in prison. He said Evans does not have respect for the law. The judge’s last words were, “get him out of here.”
After the hearing, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson began a press conference by applauding judge Norton, saying everyone involved in the case was pleased with the outcome.
“From the beginning, since the child was missing, everyone pulled together to search and find her, including from around the country,” she said. “Things could’ve ended much differently had the people who saw her not made a call.”
Wilson said she was inspired by the Todd family to, “dig deep and move forward” and eventually forgive, which she said is a word in progress.
The child’s mother also spoke at the press conference, saying she has been overwhelmed by the impact Charleston law enforcement, the FBI, and MUSC had on her family.
She said her family will now be able to close this chapter of their life and move forward.
“(she) will be happy in kindergarten, take dance classes,” she said. “We can move forward and I’m excited about where ‘forward’ is going to take us.”