Charging documents: 13-year-old girl fended off would-be kidnapper

2014-03-31T14:51:00Z 2014-04-08T11:51:06Z Charging documents: 13-year-old girl fended off would-be kidnapperBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Prosecutors say the man arrested in connection with an early-morning home invasion in Lockwood did more than break in.

Lester Harley McFerran tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl, who kicked him, sending him running from her room, prosecutors allege in court documents. McFerran reportedly had a pair of handcuffs with him.

McFerran, 36, made an initial court appearance Monday in Yellowstone County Justice Court on felony charges of burglary and attempted kidnapping. He is being held at the county jail on a $200,000 bond.

The girl woke at about 5:20 a.m. Wednesday to a man sitting on her bed, according to charging documents. The man told her not to move or make a noise and to “put your hands behind your back.”

The girl told investigators the man had a pair of handcuffs that she felt he intended to use on her.

When the man grabbed her wrist, the girl screamed for her brother, who was sleeping on the top bunk bed.

She kicked the suspect, hitting him at least once on the shoulder, which sent him running out of the room, according to charging documents.

The 13-year-old then grabbed a pocketknife, which she keeps under her pillow, went to the kitchen and yelled for the man to get out of the house. She found the front door open, shut it, locked it and then called her mother, who called 911.

A few minutes later, officers arrived.

The incident sent Lockwood School into a modified lockdown for about three hours, during which students were not allowed to move between buildings.

The girl gave investigators a detailed description of the suspect.

She said she was “100 percent positive” the same man had come to her home Tuesday morning and gave her a name, asking if that person lived there.

The girl told him she didn’t recognize the name and he left, court records say.

Using the description the girl provided, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office generated a composite image, which was released to local news outlets Friday morning.

“Law enforcement immediately began receiving tips, including multiple (tips) that reported the composite drawing looked like Lester McFerran,” charging documents state.

Officers quickly tracked McFerran to his parents’ home, where he was arrested.

After being taken into custody, McFerran began crying and said he wanted to kill himself, court records say.

On Monday, Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Nicholas Owens requested a bond of $250,000, citing McFerran’s “audacious” and “terrifying” actions in the case.

Owens said that McFerran doesn’t have any felony convictions, but was convicted in 2012 of misdemeanor indecent exposure.

An assistant public defender argued for a bond of $50,000. The public defender said McFerran is a lifelong Billings resident and suffers from depression and diabetes.

Judge David A. Carter set bond at $200,000 and ordered McFerran to undergo continuous GPS monitoring and to have absolutely no contact with the alleged victim or her family.

McFerran, who appeared in court by video from the jail, became upset and argued against the bond amount.

Carter said he set the bond amount because of the nature of the offense, because McFerran is a flight risk, because McFerran threatened to hurt himself and because of the danger posed to the alleged victims, who live about two miles from McFerran.

McFerran is scheduled to appear before District Judge Gregory R. Todd to enter pleas on the charges on April 8.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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