The father of missing 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson said Tuesday the law is catching up with her accused kidnapper, but he wishes the man would tell authorities where his daughter is.
I dont think shes alive, said Alvin Thompson, the father, who lives in Virginia. Theres been too much time.
That man is Freddie Grant of Elgin, who was convicted Tuesday by a federal jury on a charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Grant will be sentenced in April, when Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Haynes will ask a judge to enhance Grants punishment because he is an armed career criminal. The maximum penalty would be life in prison.
Grants criminal record includes convictions for assault and kidnapping while he was a soldier in Korea and for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in South Carolina.
Grant has been charged by the Richland County Sheriffs Department with kidnapping in Swainsons Aug. 18 disappearance, and he is a suspect in the disappearance of 28-year-old Adrianna Laster, a woman who lived with him but has not been seen since fall 2011. The ammunition was found in his home as police searched for evidence in Swainsons case.
John Delgado, Grants defense attorney, said he would appeal the verdict based on the judges decision to uphold the search warrant that led to the discovery of the ammunition. Delgado had argued that the sheriffs department illegally obtained the warrant, but U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie ruled it was valid.
Investigators found .38-caliber bullets in a nightstand and shotgun shells on the bottom shelf of an end table as they searched Grants fire-damaged home where clothes, wood, cups and other debris were strewn.
Dominique Grant, the suspects 27-year-old daughter, testified that she brought the ammo to her fathers house to store it. But she admitted that she did not leave the ammunition in the places where investigators found it.
A jury deliberated about three hours before reaching the guilty verdict. Thompson attended the trial Monday and waited outside the courtroom as the jury deliberated. Elvia Swainson, Gabrielles mother and Grants former girlfriend, did not attend.
With the cloud of two missing girls over him, its about time Grant pays for his criminal past, Thompson said.
This guy has escaped the legal system for a long time, he said.
Mostly, Thompson wants to find his daughter.
Im a grown man, but I sit and cry because I dont know where my daughter is, he said. There is just one person who knows where she is at, and thats the man who was convicted on the ammunition charge. But it wont bring my daughter back.
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