PHILADELPHIA — Delvin Barnes, who allegedly abducted a Philadelphia nurse’s assistant and held her for three days, made a court appearance Friday to plead not guilty to kidnapping charges.
He was indicted Thursday, according to the Philadelphia U.S. Attorney’s office.
Carlesha Freeland-Gaither’s abduction on November 2 was captured on a surveillance video in Philadelphia and sparked a manhunt involving the FBI, Philadelphia police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
Freeland-Gaither, 22, was found in Jessup, Maryland on November 5. Barnes, 37, was arrested that same day after police tracked him down using his car’s GPS device.
Barnes allegedly forced the victim to lie bound and cold in the trunk of his car as he drove from Philadelphia to Maryland, court documents said. When he was arrested in Maryland, he was in the back seat of his car, lying next to the victim.
If convicted, Barnes faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
A month before Barnes allegedly abducted Freeland-Gaither in Philadelphia, he hit a teen with a shovel in Virginia and stuffed her into the trunk of a car, authorities said.
Before he appeared in court for the alleged Philadelphia abduction, he was booked and processed in Virginia in connection with the other alleged kidnapping.
Maryland extradited him to Virginia, where he was booked and processed Thursday night.
Freeland-Gaither was abducted after she got off a bus in Philadelphia’s Germantown-Penn Knox area.
As she walked the few blocks to her home, the suspect’s car passed her and quickly parked. A man then got out and met Freeland-Gaither at an intersection, Philadelphia police Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson said.
Then her abductor pounced.
Surveillance video showed Freeland-Gaither forcibly led away to a car after a brief tussle on the ground.
During the struggle, her glasses and cell phone fell to the road. She kept fighting — even breaking a passenger side window — but the car sped away.
Barnes admitted to the abduction, according to a criminal complaint.
The alleged abductor left behind a string of clues.
A day after the kidnapping, the suspect allegedly used her ATM card at a machine in Aberdeen, Maryland. The same day, he allegedly used her card to make a purchase at a convenience store. Police released surveillance video of both transactions.
A car dealer identified Barnes from the videos and alerted authorities that he had placed a GPS device in the suspect’s car because of concerns about his bad credit, authorities said.
The GPS device in the suspect’s car is used to alert customers when they’re behind on payments and also allows dealers to track down the vehicle and stop it, said PassTime USA CEO Stan Schwartz, the head of the company that made the unit.
Barnes, who made his initial court appearance in Philadelphia on Wednesday, will be tried there before being turned over to authorities in Virginia.
The 16-year-old victim in the Virginia case was sexually abused and doused with bleach and gasoline before she managed to get away, police said.
In Virginia, Barnes is charged with abduction, forcible rape and malicious wounding with a chemical, among other charges.