SHREVEPORT, La.(KTAL/KMSS) – A Sabine Parish man is facing life in prison after being convicted of kidnapping a woman and taking her to another state against her will nearly four years ago.
According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, 54-year-old Dillon James Merritt of Many was found guilty in court Wednesday of kidnapping, interstate domestic violence, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
It happened on December 12, 2017. The district attorney’s office says Merritt kidnapped a woman in Natchitoches and took her across state lines to Texas, and held her against her will for four days.
Testimony at trial showed that Merritt and the victim briefly dated in the fall of 2017, but after Merritt punched the woman in the stomach following an argument, the victim ended the relationship with Merritt. Following the breakup, he continually called the victim and harassed her.
During the evening hours of December 12, 2017, Merritt found the victim walking back home from visiting with a friend near the Walmart parking lot in Natchitoches and struck her in the head and put her in a truck and left.
The victim was bound and gagged and hidden under clothing in the vehicle and for the next several days, was taken by Merritt to various locations in Louisiana and remote locations in Texas near Toledo Bend. Merritt repeatedly raped the victim, doused her with lighter fluid and tried to set her on fire, and severely beat her with his fists, elbows, feet, and with a Maglite flashlight over this four-day period causing serious bodily injury to the victim.
In addition to the brutal beatings, aggravated sexual assault, and sexual abuse on the victim committed by Merritt, he possessed with the intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine.
“The severe brutality and sexual abuse inflicted by this defendant on the victim was pure evil,” Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook said in a released statement Wednesday.
“No one deserves to be treated in this manner and justice has prevailed today.”
Along with the kidnapping charge and life for the interstate domestic violence charges, Merritt is also facing a maximum of 40 years for the drug charge, and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for November 11 at 11:00 a.m.
Download the ArkLaTexHomepage app to keep up with the latest top stories, breaking news, weather, sports, and more!