CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - According to the sentencing memorandum filed last week, attorneys for the federal government are seeking a life sentence for 37-year-old Thomas Lawton Evans, the man who kidnapped a 4-year-old Johns Island girl in February 2018 and took her across state lines where she was later found alive.
“The horrific crimes defendant stands convicted of, by themselves, mandate a life sentence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams wrote. " The crime spree he committed within days of being released from prison, and his escalating pattern of violent crime, all but guarantee that the defendant, if not in prison, will continue to commit horrific, violent crimes. Perhaps most importantly, the impact defendant’s crimes have had on those he attacked mandate the most severe punishment available to this Court, a life sentence."
“The government also believes that a life sentence is needed to keep defendant away from the public – to protect the public from a defendant who has shown time and time again that he will commit horrific violent crimes if he is not in prison,” Williams continued. “Only a life sentence can deter this defendant and keep the public safe from him.”
Evans is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in a Charleston County federal courtroom. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping the girl in September 2018. He has formally pleaded guilty to kidnapping, transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity and aggravated sexual abuse, according to the memorandum, which states that the sentencing guidelines for the crimes would be life in prison.
It also cites Evans’ previous convictions, which included an armed robbery in 2009, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and a strong armed robbery in 2002.
He told investigators he targeted the family because they seemed “perfect” and one he would like to have. Evans also said his initial intent was to rob them. According to the sentencing memorandum, Evans also sexually assaulted the mother and girl.
Evans also told investigators he had a fight with his girlfriend Sharon Nanette Hayden and told investigators he stabbed her. Evans chased her into the woods near her Spartanburg home where he believed she died and left her there. However he could not tell investigators where Hayden’s body is located. Both Hayden’s mother and daughter have gone public with pleas to try and find her, but Evans has told investigators he doesn’t know where the woman’s body is.