Local News

Chapel Hill Man Found Guilty In Attempted Abduction Of 11-Year-Old Girl

Posted November 13, 2002 8:14 a.m. EST

— An Orange County jury found 23-year-old Derek Jones guilty Tuesday of second-degree kidnapping and attempted child abduction of a 11-year-old girl from her elementary school.

Witnesses say in May, Jones tried to grab the girl from the schoolyard at Frank Porter Graham Elementary in Chapel Hill. Jones lived at a nearby apartment complex and testified that he was jogging home, ran into the girl and tried to help her back up.

Donna Lemon, the defendant's mother, said her son was just on his way to play basketball.

"My son is innocent and people in there know it. It does not make common sense for somebody to call two or three people and want a basketball game, and then plan B is to kidnap a little girl," she said.

At sentencing, the victim's mother dismissed Jones' story as a fabrication.

"He's a liar as well as a child molester," she said.

The judge sentenced Jones to 36 months in prison, five years probation and sex offender counseling. Jones will also have to register as a sex offender in the county where he lives.

"In a kidnapping case if it involves a child, it falls under the registration statute. Child abduction also falls under the registration statute, even though it is not technically a sexual offense," prosecutor Kayley Taber said.

The victim's parents say she still suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome. They said they expect her to be in therapy for a long time to come.