2017-06-12 / Front Page

Man gets 35 years for carjacking, kidnapping

Victim was shot during her escape from traumatic incident
By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer

Michael CovingtonMichael CovingtonA 26-year-old Gaffney man accused of kidnapping a woman during an October 2015 carjacking outside a local convenience store entered into a plea agreement Monday morning in Cherokee County General Sessions Court that resulted in a total of 35 years in prison.

Michael Brandon Covington, formerly of Jasmine Drive, originally was brought into court Monday to plead guilty to offenses of kidnapping, attempted murder, carjacking with great bodily injury and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. However, Covington ended up entering what’s known as an Alford plea, in which he didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged he would be convicted at trial.
Covington, who reportedly had a long history of mental illness but was deemed competent to stand trial, told Circuit Court Judge Keith Kelly he had no memory of the incident.
Assistant Solicitor Kim Leskanic said all charges stemmed from a 1:30 a.m. Oct. 19, 2015, incident during which a local woman stopped at a West Floyd Baker Boulevard convenience store. Before the woman could get out of her vehicle to go inside the store, Covington approached her with a handgun, got inside the vehicle and demanded the woman drive away.
Assistant Solicitor Kim Leskanic said all charges stemmed from a 1:30 a.m. Oct. 19, 2015, incident during which a local woman stopped at a West Floyd Baker Boulevard convenience store. Before the woman could get out of her vehicle to go inside the store, Covington approached her with a handgun, got inside the vehicle and demanded the woman drive away.
Leskanic said the woman followed instructions and at one point, Covington demanded the woman pull over so he could put her in the trunk.
The woman talked Covington out of his plan, Leskanic relayed in court, and was secretly able to get her own handgun from her purse. The woman then bided her time to make a move while Covington took over the driving, Leskanic said.
Sometime later, Covington stopped the vehicle and got out. When he turned his back to the woman she fired a shot from her handgun, striking Covington in the back. Her gun jammed after one round, however. As the woman got back in the driver’s seat and drove away, Covington fired multiple shots into the car. The woman was struck in the arm, damaging an artery.
A passerby coming home from work subsequently found the injured woman at Ellis Ferry Road and School Road. Leskanic said the woman had lost four pints of blood.
Covington fled to Mississippi after the shooting and was arrested several days later.
The woman did not know Covington, Leskanic noted.

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