A 35-year-old New London man who previously pleaded guilty to kidnapping his ex-wife in 2010 tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his pleas at his sentencing on Friday.
Percy Lobaton was sentenced at the New London Superior Court to 15 years in prison, suspended after five years, and five years of probation. During probation he must have no contact with his ex-wife and attend anger management and mental health treatment as deemed appropriate. The court also imposed a 40-year standing criminal protective order ordering him to keep away from the woman.
According to a report by Officer Melinda Stone of the New London Police Department, a witness saw Lobaton start banging on the window of the woman’s van at the intersection of Broad Street and Jefferson Ave. on the morning of Feb. 14, 2010. The witness said Lobaton forced his way into the vehicle after the woman started to open the door and pushed her to the passenger side before driving off.
Police found a parked Subaru registered in Lobaton’s name at the scene with the keys still in it. The vehicle also had rope, a plastic bag, duct tape, and earplugs in it.
According to WTNH, the woman said Lobaton abducted her at gunpoint and that she managed to throw the weapon out of the van as Lobaton drove south on I-95. She said Lobaton threatened to kill her and then himself, and that she told women in a Milford rest stop bathroom about the situation after Lobaton stopped there.
The Connecticut State Police stopped the vehicle in Stamford and arrested Lobaton. A BB gun was found in the vehicle.
Lobaton entered an Alford plea to first-degree kidnapping and violation of a restraining order in August. A charge of second-degree threatening was dismissed. An Alford plea does not admit guilt but recognizes that the court would be likely to prevail at trial.
In letters to the court, Lobaton maintained that he was innocent and said the court did not grant his request for a speedy trial and took advantage of his poor grasp of the English language. Judge Patrick J. Clifford said that in a pre-sentencing report, Lobaton said he would charge the court with murder if his elderly father died while he was incarcerated. Lobaton also accused the court of racism in several letters.
“I don’t think that I should be abused based on my color, because being a darker colored person doesn’t make me a criminal, does it?” he wrote.
Clifford denied Lobaton’s request to withdraw his plea, but said he could appeal his sentence within 20 days.