Four charged with kidnapping JBLM soldier for "snitch" money
A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier was kidnapped and tortured last week by four people who sold him drugs and then demanded money because they thought he was a snitch, Pierce County prosecutors allege.
The 23-year-old soldier was tied up with electrical cord, Tased, shot with a pellet gun more than 100 times and repeatedly punched while being held in a mobile home in the 14600 block of Union Avenue Southwest, prosecutors said.
On Monday, prosecutors charged Frederick Clifford, 34; Melissa Parr, 33; Krista James, 30; and Jacques Gerber, 33, with first-degree kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment. Gerber and Parr also face charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful use of a building for drug purposes.
A bench warrant has been issued for Jacques Gerber’s arrest. The other defendants are in custody and pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Monday.
The victim reported the incident July 25 after persuading Clifford to take him to the JBLM gate so he could get cash from a bank on post, prosecutors said. Instead, he asked a clerk at the gate to call Lakewood police. Clifford was arrested and the others later taken into custody.
The victim was discharged from the 2nd Stryker brigade Friday for misconduct, JBLM spokesman Joe Piek said Tuesday. Details of the misconduct were not available. Piek said the man joined the army in February 2011 and was never deployed.
Because he was discharged, the military will not pursue the allegations of drug use, Piek said.
As for the alleged kidnapping, charging papers gave this account:
The victim told detectives he has been buying drugs from Parr since April and bought some methamphetamine July 24 at Parr’s mobile home. After he left, Parr called the victim and asked him to return to hang out, so he did.
About 1 a.m., Gerber showed up and told Parr the victim was a snitch. The documents do not say what led Gerber to believe that. He and Parr threw the solider against the wall to see whether he was wearing a wire, then tied him up and tortured him for several hours.
“The victim said he did not fight back because he figured it would only make it worse,” documents state.
Later that morning, Parr demanded $400 from the victim for being a snitch and ordered Clifford to take him to get the money. The three then used drugs together.
Clifford drove him several places in an attempt to find cash and even told people the soldier was a hostage before agreeing to take him to the JBLM gate.
Gerber’s wife, Brenda, 34, was not involved in the kidnapping but was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine because she lived in one of the rooms in the mobile home with her husband and their children. While serving a search warrant, police found 18 grams of suspected meth in her room near her driver’s license.
James admitted she was in the mobile home when the victim arrived and watched him being shot with a pellet gun and Tased. She told police she went along with it only because she feared Parr and Jacques Gerber.
Parr told police Jacques Gerber was her drug supplier. Detectives found a bottle of Vicodin on her when she was arrested. They seized four baggies of meth, a scale and other drug paraphernalia while searching her mobile home.
Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.