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Jamaica Plain kidnapper who contracted, recovered from Covid-19 in prison is denied early release

A Lawrence man convicted for grabbing a man out of a car in Jamaica Plain and then holding him for ransom in Lawrence for several days in 2012 won't be getting a Covid-19-related "compassionate early release" from prison.

In a ruling today, US District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton said that the fact that Edgar Acevdo has recovered from a prison-acquired case of the virus means it's unlikely he has much of a risk anymore, and that his obesity, mild asthma and kidney stones would not put him at highly elevated risk even should he come down with it again.

Equally important, Gorton writes, is that while Acevedo has made progress towards rehabilitation, he needs to pay more for his crime. "The seriousness of that violent offense and the need for just punishment and respect for the law weigh heavily against his release."

Acevedo, how housed at a federal prison in New Jersey, is scheduled for release from his 16-year sentence in September, 2025.

According to court records, the victim was in the front seat of his father's car on Washington and Sylvia streets in Jamaica Plain, just north of the E-13 police station, when a man with a gun jumped in front of the car and ordered him out - while another man with a gun went to the drive's side. - around 9:35 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2012. The victim got out, was punched, then shoved into a minivan that sped off.

When his father tried to follow, an accomplice in another vehicle cut him off. The kidnappers eventually stuck the victim in an abandoned house in Lawrence, his eyes duct-taped shut.

Early the next morning, the victim's wife got a call demanding $100,000. After the kidnappers put her husband on the phone to prove he was alive, she agreed to meet their demands. A friend contact the FBI.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 3, a kidnapper contacted her again and instructed her to drive west on the turnpike and await further instructions. While on the road, she got a call directing her to get off in Charlton and go to a specific convenience store, where she was met by several men, who told her to put the money - which the FBI had coated with fluorescent fingerprint powder - in the back of a pickup, then drive down the road, where they said her husband would be dropped off. But then they called her and said her husband would be dropped off at the South Bay Mall in Dorchester. Only he wasn't.

Meanwhile, FBI agents followed a Ford Expedition from Charlton to a two-family house in Lawrence, where they found Acevedo's accomplice, who agreed to talk, even as he had the ransom bag next to him - and both it and his hands glowed under a portable fluorescent light. But the bag was empty and he denied knowing anything about the kidnapping. A short time later, though, the agents found a couple of guys - one of them Acevedo - skulking around on a rear stairway. His hands glowed when the agents shined a light on them.

The accomplice's driver's license listed a different Lawrence address. When agents went there, they opened the door, said they were with the FBI and wanted to talk to the occupants. They heard a sound that seemed to be moving towards them. It was the victim feeling his way along the wall, since his eyes were duct-taped shut.

Gorton presided over Acevedo's original case, in which he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping. At the time, Gorton called Acevedo's crime "heinous."

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Asking for compassion after kidnapping someone? What a nerve.

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