On Tuesday, 23-year-old Michael Akins pleaded guilty to a string of kidnapping, assault and robbery charges for taking a company nurse hostage and kidnapping several managers after a fight with his girlfriend, who also worked at the Catepillar plant. Johnston County Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins sentenced Akins to up to 17 years in prison.
After his guilty plea, Akins apologized to a cluster of Caterpillar employees who came to court to tell the judge how Akins had disrupted their lives.
On January 23, Akins held Neil Boykin, a company nurse, at gunpoint for more than 30 minutes as he searched the plant looking for his girlfriend.
Prosecutor Ann Kirby told the judge that Akins threatened to kill his girlfriend after an argument.
Akins later stole Boykin's car and led deputies on a high-speed chase east on Highway 42 before he was forced off the road by an officer.
Akins' attorney, Jonathan Breeden, told the judge that family and work pressures had strained his mental health.
This was the second time in 14 months someone's pulled a gun inside. On Nov. 4, 2004 Pam Arizona held three people at gunpoint after a friend was fired. Arizona later pleaded guilty to kidnapping.
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