Thursday, April 3, 2003

Man gets 20 years in couple's kidnapping

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NEWPORT - A Fort Thomas man who carjacked a couple celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary outside a riverfront restaurant was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday.

Augustus J. Kern, 43, received 20 years for kidnapping, 10 years for attempted kidnapping and five years for tampering with physical evidence. The sentences will run concurrently for a maximum of 20 years.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Kern will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of his sentence.

Kern pleaded guilty in Campbell Circuit Court on Feb. 25 after reaching a plea agreement with the Campbell County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

Cyndi Blalock and her husband, Bill, were getting into their white Cadillac after celebrating their wedding anniversary at Joe's Crab Shack in Bellevue when Kern forced his way into the front passenger seat.

Bill Blalock told police that Kern held a knife to him and said, "I'm a dead man. I don't care who I take with me, just drive."

Cyndi Blalock, who was able to jump out of the car before it left the restaurant's parking lot, said she was happy with the sentence.

"We feel the sentence is just," said Cyndi Blalock. "We didn't want to go through the added stress of a trial, but we were insistent he get 20 years.

"We are now ready to close this chapter of our lives. It was a tough year for us, in terms of personal security."

According to court records, Kern yelled, "If you look at me, I'll ... kill you" as Bill Blalock drove the man around Campbell County with police cars tailed in a slow-moving chase that lasted about 10 minutes.

Kern eventually gave up, and no one was injured.

Kern has a prior criminal record, including three driving-under-the-influence convictions and second-degree robbery.


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