By RYAN DUNN
A former Findlay woman involved in a notorious 1999 kidnapping case has left prison after 15 years of incarceration.
Kathy M. Emmons, 34, on Wednesday returned to Hancock County Common Pleas Court, where she was granted early release after spending nearly half of her life in prison.
Emmons told Judge Reginald Routson she learned from the mistakes she made long ago.
“Life is a gift not to be taken for granted, especially someone else’s life,” Emmons said.
In February 1999, a 13-year-old Findlay girl was assaulted at a Tiffin Avenue party, abducted, and left in a clay tile in Eagle Township, investigators said. She was later freed and survived.
Emmons was one of several defendants charged in the case. She allowed others to heavily influence her decisions, she said.
According to court records, Emmons in March 2000 pleaded guilty to complicity to attempted murder, a first-degree felony; complicity to rape, a first-degree felony; complicity to kidnapping, a first-degree felony; and felonious assault, a second-degree felony.
Emmons agreed to testify against co-defendant Nate Graham and received a 24-year prison sentence. Her plea agreement offered the potential of early release after 15 years served.
Former Prosecutor Robert Fry had identified Graham, then 22 years old, of Rawson, as the ringleader.
Graham continues to serve a 55-year sentence for convictions including attempted murder, rape and kidnapping. He is scheduled to complete the term in 2057.
Judge Routson on Wednesday praised Emmons for her productivity and good behavior in prison. He said she deserved roughly an A-minus grade.
Routson ordered Emmons to serve about five years of community control sanctions, and to complete treatment at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation Center in Lima. The program will help her transition, Routson said.
After the hearing, Emmons’ mother said in an interview that she is grateful her daughter will soon be free.
Kathy Emmons has matured over the years, Barb Emmons said.
“I think she’s grown more spiritual, closer to the lord. She’s more aware of how her family feels,” she said.