CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During a nearly half-hour verbal haranguing Thursday, a judge told Gary Wayne Mullins -- who was convicted earlier this year of kidnapping after he targeted an elderly man in a grocery store parking lot and bullied him out of thousands of dollars -- that he was a "menace to society."
"That day in the parking lot, you were no friend, and he was no friend of you," Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster told Mullins, 50, during his sentencing hearing. "You had to have seen the vulnerability of this man."
Webster sentenced Mullins to 25 years in prison for the kidnapping of 84-year-old George Jacobs. The sentence was 25 years less than what prosecutors had recommended for Mullins, whom they say has made a career of bullying elderly people out of money.
Jacobs died less than 24 hours after testifying in Mullins' trial.
"It would be very easy for me to give you the maximum," Webster said. "But I'm going to use judicial temperament because that's my job."
On Jan. 11, 2011, Mullins slipped into the passenger seat of Jacobs' car as the elderly man was pulling into a parking space at the Kanawha City Kroger, according to trial testimony.
Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Erica Lord said at the time that Mullins was scoping the parking lot for a target.
When he was inside the vehicle, Mullins demanded $2,000 from Jacobs. When he said he didn't have the money, Mullins told Jacobs to drive him to his home to retrieve the cash. He returned to the home for months afterward, milking him for more money.
"The defendant's actions caused my father to suffer greatly," Charleston attorney Pat Jacobs said during Thursday's sentencing.