A Hawkins County man accused of kidnapping a young girl was sentenced on Monday to serve 25 years in prison.
Gary Simpson, 58, entered an Alford plea to one count of especially aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated sexual battery, court officials confirmed to WCYB. The Alford plea indicates Simpson admits there was enough evidence to convict him in a trial, but he doesn't admit guilt.
Judge John Dugger gave Simpson a 25-year sentence to be served at 100 percent. A charge of one count of rape of a child was reduced as part of the plea, court officials said.
Authorities alleged Simpson kidnapped the girl from school in May 2016 and kept her for about nine days on private property near Clinch Mountain in the northern part of Hawkins County.
They were the subject of a large hunt that included the TBI in East Tennessee and an Amber Alert.
Several men found Simpson and the girl while searching remote parts of the county. One of them held Simpson at gun point while the other called 911 and rescued the girl.
The men donated a reward for finding the girl to a charity.
© 2017 WBIR.COM