Alleged kidnapper pleads not guilty to three federal charges

Thomas Lawton Evans in custody at Charleston County Detention Center (File/WCIV)

The upstate man accused of beating a John’s Island woman and kidnapping her 4-year-old child was back in federal court today in Charleston.

Wearing a prison uniform and shackles, Thomas Lawton Evans junior entered a plea of not guilty in federal court.

He's already facing seven charges in state court including a sex crime and attempted murder.

RELATED | Thomas Evans indicted on federal sex crime charges in Charleston County kidnapping case

According to affidavits in the case, Evans gave a full confession to detectives regarding the assault and kidnapping on Feb. 13.

Now Evans faces three federal counts:

Kidnapping involving a person under the age of 18 years, transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity, and aggravated sexual abuse of a person under the age of 12.

We spoke to legal expert Charlie Condon, who says these federal charges bring the case to Charleston rather than subjecting the victims to possible trials in several different states.

RELATED | Thomas Evans facing new charges, including attempted murder & sexual assault

Condon says, “This makes it much easier because all of these charges can be consolidated in federal court here in Charleston. There are experts here to examine the young victim for testimony, otherwise, it would have been difficult."

Evans will remain in custody at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center for now.

Condon says the next step in this case will be discovery, where both sides go through all the evidence. The defendant will then have the choice to a plea deal or a trial by jury.

RELATED | Thomas Evans, Charleston kidnapping suspect, stole getaway car from Georgia farm workers

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