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Filyaw Sentenced to 421 Years in Prison


BEAUFORT, S.C. (WLTX, AP) -- Vinson Filyaw, the man who kidnapped and raped a Kershaw County teenager in an underground bunker, has been sentenced to 421 years in prison. (Read Ashley Yarchin's Trial Blog on the Sentencing Phase. WARNING: Contains Descriptions Some Readers May Find Disturbing) Filyaw pleaded guilty Tuesday just before his trial was to start to kidnapping and ten counts of criminal sexual misconduct for the incident last year. On Wednesday, Circuit Judge G. Thomas Cooper gave him the maximum sentence on each charge.The judge announced to the courtroom that he is “generally a compassionate person,” but that “I have a strong belief that you forfeited your right to be a member of this society. You have preyed upon helpless victims…you terrified people.” He went on to say, “I can think of no crime – short of murder – more repulsive than the 17 charges that have been brought against you.”Filyaw has been given credit for serving one year of the sentence, so he still has 420 more to go. Filyaw had also pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer and possessing an incendiary device. The sentencing came after prosecutors read a statement from the 15-year-old girl who described the ordeal as a nightmare. Officials say the 15-year-old girl had planned to testify, but was too emotional to talk.The girl was rescued after ten days when she sent a text message to her mother.The girl's mother described the fear and sleepless nights the family endured during the search. She asked Circuit Judge G. Thomas Cooper to give Filyaw a sentence that will keep him in prison until he dies.The case was moved to Beaufort because of publicity in the Midlands.More details to come.