Man charged with kidnapping, carjacking Florence pastor faces sentencing

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – The man who is charged with kidnapping and carjacking a pastor in Florence will be sentenced Friday morning.

Joseph Wright ended up changing his plea in June and entered a guilty plea to the kidnapping and carjacking charges.

According to prosecutors, Wright abducted a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Florence at knifepoint on the morning on Dec. 21, 2021. He reportedly forced the pastor into his vehicle at the church parking lot before speeding off.

Police later found the vehicle in Lumberton about two hours later after the kidnapping.

A sentencing memorandum that was filed on August 9, explains Wright’s history and states that he had fallen on hard times and was homeless.

According to the memorandum, the day before the kidnapping, he was across the street from another church, Florence Baptist Temple, when the congregation was leaving and none of them asked him if he needed help and that bothered him.

“The morning of December 21, 2021, Mr. Wright decided to go inside the Immanuel Baptist Church to ask for help,” the memorandum states. “He was still angry from his recent experiences at the Baptist Temple. Mr. Wright asked a church employee for some help. The church employee told him that they could not help him, and she told him maybe another church in the area could help him.”

The sentencing memo went on to state that “he snapped” and left the church but quickly came back and committed the offenses of kidnapping and carjacking.

The memorandum from the defense asks the judge to consider a sentence of 210 months, or 17 years and 6 months.

Read the full article here


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