Runnels found guilty of attempted kidnapping

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:26 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A man accused of taking two children hostage in 2012 was found guilty Thursday on two counts of attempted second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted illegal use of a weapon.

Kendal Runnels, 42, was charged with two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of illegal use of a weapon. The jury opted for the lesser charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted illegal use of a weapon.

After the jury went out around 1 p.m., it sent a note to the judge around 3 p.m. saying it was deadlocked on the charges. The judge instructed the jury to continue deliberating in an attempt to reach a unanimous verdict.

Around 3:50 p.m., the jury sent word that it had reached a verdict.

Prosecutors said Runnels had a gun when he held two small children hostage during a barricade situation nine years ago. The gun was fired twice.

The defense argued Runnels was scared and thought he was protecting the children from someone he believed might hurt all of them.

Runnels may have been under the influence of illegal drugs, according to testimony. A bag of cocaine and a gun were entered into evidence during the trial.

About an hour and 20 minutes after beginning deliberations, jurors came back with three questions. They wanted the definition of negligence, whether the verdict had to be unanimous and whether Runnels’ blood was tested. The judge read the jury the legal definition of criminal negligence. They were also told their verdict must be unanimous and that there is no evidence about whether Runnels’ blood was tested.

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