Foiled kidnapper caught on tape gets 17 to 34 years in state prison

Posted: April 06, 2014

CARLOS FIGUEROAFAGOT hasn't said why he got out of his car and tried to grab a 10-year-old girl from a South Philadelphia sidewalk the afternoon of July 17, 2012.

But whatever his motive was, his actions were chilling and caused the girl to struggle for freedom as her 2-year-old brother screamed in terror.

Figueroa-Fagot eventually fled empty-handed.

The incident was captured on surveillance video, which led to Figueroa-Fagot's surrender days later and helped a jury in September convict him of attempted kidnapping and five related charges.

Yesterday, Figueroa-Fagot, 35, found out what his crimes will cost him: 17 to 34 years in state prison. After that, he'll have to register as a sexually violent predator for life under the state's Megan's Law.

Common Pleas Judge Alice Dubow could have sentenced Figueroa-Fagot to three to six years behind bars, but said due to the "horrific nature of the crime," and the fact that he had terrorized his victim, her family and the community, he deserved much more time.

"The sentence was beautiful," Joanne Payne, the victim's mother, said after leaving the courthouse.

"I am extremely happy. Kids are safe, my kid is safe. I'm going to be a grandmother before he even comes up for parole."

She said her daughter, who is now 12, still suffers anxiety from being associated with the high-profile incident.

"She deals with, 'Everybody's looking at me.' She has that feeling that everybody is out to get her. Hopefully, with time and maybe some professional help, we can get past that," Payne said.

Public defender Geoffrey Kilroy argued for a shorter sentence that included mental-health treatment and probation for Figueroa-Fagot, who he said has psychosis, hears voices and experiences blackouts.

"We can protect society without locking people away and warehousing them for the rest of their lives," Kilroy told Dubow. "We can help him. We can fix him. We can make him a better member of society."

Assistant District Attorney Branwen McNabb - who asked for the maximum sentence of 26 to 52 years - said the sentence was fitting.

"This was an unspeakable crime. It's every parent's worst nightmare," she said.

"The evidence showed at trial that this is a defendant that preyed upon two young children who were just walking in the middle of a summer day just looking to get water ice," she said.

"What's more dangerous than that, than being attacked in your own neighborhood in the middle of broad daylight - especially when you're a child?"

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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