COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A failed plot to kidnap a Hilliard couple has left a 41-year-old woman with an eight-year prison sentence.
A judge sentenced Denia I. Avila, of Columbus, to eight years in prison Friday for conspiring, on two separate occasions, to kidnap her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend in 2019, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.
Avila — who reportedly exploited her ex’s immigration status to carry out her scheme — recruited seven others to assist her, two of whom donned black facemasks while approaching the victims near their Hilliard home in the early morning hours of November 25, 2019. The new girlfriend screamed after one of Avila’s co-conspirators deployed a stun gun against her ex-boyfriend’s neck, Parker said, but both victims successfully fended off their attackers.
After the first failed kidnapping attempt, Avila tried to kidnap them again a week later but to no avail, Parker said. The 41-year-old blocked the victims’ car to prevent them from leaving their Hilliard home, while two co-conspirators disguised as law enforcement officers presented a fake arrest warrant to the victims.
Despite demands from the co-conspirators that the victims get out of their car, they drove over a curb and escaped.
According to Parker, detectives found two videos in which Avila and one of her co-conspirators talked about kidnapping and hurting the victims, all while a Taser and leg shackles could be seen in the videos. Avila reportedly said she knew the victims would be fearful to report the incident to police, as she helped illegally smuggle her ex-boyfriend back into the U.S. after he was deported.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiring to kidnap in October 2021. Once her 96-month prison sentence is up, she will be placed under three years of court supervision, Parker said. She was also slapped with a $1,396 restitution fine. Other co-conspirators were also charged in relation to the kidnapping scheme in July 2020, including three Columbus residents and a man from Canal Winchester.