Man was tortured with blowtorch and shot to death over stolen RV in Missouri, feds say

A Missouri woman has pleaded guilty to charges after officials say she played a part in the kidnapping and torture of a man before he was killed.

Amy Kay Thomas, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to an April 18 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri.

According to an indictment, Freddie Lewis Tilton, 51, was looking for the victim, identified in court records as “M.H.,” after the victim helped someone recover an RV that Tilton stole.

“Whats up let’s finish this. That was lame what you did yesterday I wasn’t impressed at all,” Tilton said in a Facebook message to M.H. on July 5, 2020, the court document said. “See when I (took) her RV I called her and told her I took it and why I (took) her (expletive).”

Tilton went on to say that he took the RV because the person it belonged to was giving money to someone in jail who Tilton said was a “rat.”

Tilton offered $5,000 to two people, Carla Jo Ward, 50, and Lawrence William Vaughan, also known as “Scary Larry,” 52, to find M.H. and take him to Vaughan’s residence on July 14, officials said.

On July 15, Tilton, Thomas and James B. Gibson, 41, showed up to Vaughan’s home and that’s when M.H. was tortured, officials said.

“They bound M.H.’s hands with handcuffs, and duct tape was placed around his mouth and other parts of his body. Gibson, Thomas, and others assaulted M.H. for a period of time. M.H. was cut, beaten, and shot at. Gibson burned M.H. with a blowtorch. Tilton fatally shot M.H. in the head,” officials said.

After M.H. was killed, Thomas and others cleaned up blood and damage at the scene, officials said. They then wrapped M.H. in plastic wrap andmoved the body to another location.

On July 28, authorities executed a search warrant at the property after receiving information that there was a body there, officials said. When police arrived, they said Tilton began to shoot at officers.

Tilton was arrested and officers found M.H.’s body about 100 yards from the residence, court documents said.

McClatchy News reached out to attorneys for Thomas, Ward and Vaughan but did not immediately hear back.

Gibson’s attorney told McClatchy News in a statement that his client “regrets the unfortunate events of the night in question. He accepts the courts sentence of 30 years and looks forward to paying his debt to society and then living a productive, law-abiding life upon release. “

Tilton’s attorney did not wish to comment.

In total, six people were charged in connection to the kidnapping and shooting death, including the owner of the property where M.H.’s body was found.

Thomas was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Tilton and Ward pleaded guilty to charges and are awaiting sentencing. Gibson was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison without parole. Vaughan was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole.

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