Parents accused of helping son flee plead guilty to obstruction
A mother and stepfather who helped their son flee the country, when he was accused of rape, were sentenced Thursday, ending a six-year saga.
Pamela Sue Kitchings, 58, and Randy Kitchings, 61, both pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and were assessed a $500 fine for their part in the conspiracy. Charges of being an accessory after the fact will be dismissed with this plea.
Robert S. Carver, 29, of Wagener, fled after warrants were sworn out for his arrest on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child and malicious injury to personal property.
To aid Carver’s escape, the Kitchings bought him and a girlfriend tickets to Cancun, Mexico. The parents remained in contact with their son, but denied having contact to Aiken County Sheriff’s Office investigators, Assistant Solicitor David Miller said in court on Thursday.
Search warrants executed by the investigators, including one on Continental Airlines, discovered that Randy Kitchings had purchased tickets for Carver via an online retailer, Miller said.
Defense attorney Bob Harte attempted to mitigate his clients’ guilt, saying that though the Kitchings did speak with Carver, they did not know exactly where he was. He added that both parents told Carver repeatedly to turn himself in.
Deputies identified Carver as one of their most wanted suspects and frequently released photos of him to the media in the years that followed his escape.
After Mexico, Carter returned to the United States and was eventually arrested by U.S. Marshals in Dayton, Ohio.
“At the time of his arrest, Carver remarked that he was tired of running and had originally moved to Dayton to hide after throwing a dart at a map,” according to the U.S. Marshals Service, speaking at the time of his arrest.
Most of the charges against Carter were dismissed when he pleaded guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature earlier this year.
Carter received a 10-year sentence and is currently in the custody of the S.C. Department of Corrections.