SENTENCES IN PENNSYLVANIA KIDNAPPING
Acting on a tip, on July 26, 2002, police arrested James Burns, 30, and Edward Johnson, 24, wanted in the kidnapping-for-ransom of 7 year old Erica Pratt. Authorities say she escaped from her captors by gnawing through duct tape. Both men have criminal records and were captured before dawn just blocks from where Erica was abducted while playing with her 5 year old sister in front of their grandmother's rowhouse. The men apparently knew the Pratt family but the connection was unclear. Court records show that the family had at least one violent run-in with one of the suspects. Soon after Erica was kidnapped, her captors called her grandmother and demanded $150,000 to spare her life. Erica was bound and blindfolded with duct tape in the squalid basement of an empty building. She clawed loose and yelled for help. Two neighborhood children helped her break through a window to safety.
Johnson was sentenced to 10 to 37 years behind bars and Burns got 14 1/2 to 49 years.
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