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Merrillville Man Gets 5 Years For Helping Woman Kidnap ‘Date’

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HAMMOND, Ind.(STMW) — A Merrillville, Ind., man will serve five years in prison, two years less than the mandatory minimum, for his role in kidnapping an Illinois man who thought he was going on a date, the Post-Tribune is reporting.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen also ordered Dedrick Bufkin, 20, to pay his victim $100.

Paul Stracci, Bufkin’s attorney, said federal attorneys moved to have Bufkin sentenced below the mandatory minimum of seven years because of his cooperation in the case. That request dropped him to 67 months, but Stracci said he asked for 51 months because he thought his client deserved it.

Van Bokkelen ultimately settled for middle ground and sentenced Bufkin to 60 months in prison.

“In light of the exposure my client was facing, he was pleased with the outcome,” Stracci said. “I’m just thankful the judge considered his arguments.”

Bufkin and his co-defendant, Diamond Toney, of Merrillville, lured the man in through Toney’s profile on a dating website. She arranged for the victim, from Sauk Village, to pick her up at an intersection in Merrillville by telling him she didn’t have a car and wasn’t comfortable giving him her home address.

However, when the victim arrived, he discovered Toney and Bufkin, who was holding a gun. The two tied him up, took his money and threw him in the trunk before going to various stores in the area. They released him after about five hours.

Bufkin pleaded guilty in June to one count of brandishing a gun during a crime of violence. Toney has also pleaded guilty in the case.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)