Grafton man sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping in Barbour County


BARBOUR COUNTY—Randall L. Utt, 57, appeared for a sentencing hearing in Barbour County Circuit Court before Judge Shawn D. Nines on October 18. 

Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Hoxie represented the State of West Virginia, and Attorney William Adams represented Mr. Utt. 

Mr. Utt had previously been found guilty at a jury trial of Kidnapping, Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony, and Wanton Endangerment with a Firearm. A kidnapping conviction is a capital offense with a mandatory life in prison sentence.

Mr. Utt was found guilty at trial of kidnapping an 18-year-old woman with a firearm and walking her into the woods to terrorize the victim in 2018.  The victim testified at trial that Mr. Utt then tied her up in the woods and sexually assaulted her.  

Prosecutor Hoxie argued for Mr. Utt to be sentenced to prison and described the crime as being one of the most heinous crimes imaginable.  

Prosecutor Hoxie further stated that Mr. Utt should be sentenced to prison for life because he had two prior felony convictions, his psychological evaluation indicated that he lacked the ability to control his anger, and he never accepted responsibility for his crimes.  

Attorney Adams requested that Mr. Utt serve his sentence on home confinement because Mr. Utt is 57 years old with medical issues and had a low risk to reoffend.  

Mr. Utt remained silent during sentencing. 

Judge Nines stated that he believed Mr. Utt committed one of the worst possible crimes in West Virginia.  Judge Nines also found that Mr. Utt had a history of committing crimes and had long drug history.  

Judge Nines further noted that the psychologist who had evaluated Mr. Utt for his risk to reoffend had stated that Mr. Utt was manipulative, aggressive, and hostile.  

Judge Nines then sentenced Mr. Utt to life in prison for the offense of kidnapping, five years in prison for the offense of Wanton Endangerment with a Firearm and ten years in prison for the offense of Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony.  

Mr. Utt was denied any alternative sentence, and he will not be eligible for parole until serving at least 12 years in prison. 

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