Lafayette man admits to 'shocking and disturbing' abduction of 9-year-old

James Brian Chadwell II maintained a blank stare as he pleaded guilty, one-by-one, to all seven felony charges against him while the gruesome details were read aloud by attorneys on both sides.

Posted: Oct 22, 2021 3:31 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2021 5:29 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Lafayette man on Friday admitted to the April kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder of a young girl.

Authorities are describing the crime as "beyond shocking and disturbing."

Deputies escorted James Brian Chadwell II into the Superior Court 2 courtroom. The victim's mother and dozens of family members filed in next, filling the gallery.

Chadwell maintained a blank stare as he pleaded guilty, one-by-one, to all seven felony charges against him while the gruesome details were read aloud by attorneys on both sides.

42-year-old Chadwell admitted to luring a 9-year-old girl into his home, then attacking her, locking her in his basement and sexually assaulting her.

After the change of plea hearing, Chadwell's public defender and prosecuting attorneys agreed the evidence against him was overwhelming, including what Prosecutor Pat Harrington described as disturbing body camera footage from officers who rescued the girl.

The victim's parents "can go home and tell the child involved in this case that she can rest tonight knowing she's safe," Harrington says. "This man will never be in a position to get out of prison or to hurt her again ... It's disturbing that a human being could ever treat another person in this manner."

"This was a difficult case and I think it coincides with any other case when there's a lot of evidence out there you ultimately make the decision to plead guilty," says Chadwell's public defender, Shay Hughes. 

Chadwell also faces a habitual offender sentencing enhancement. He has at least 14 prior convictions including six felonies in Indiana and South Dakota.

Harrington says Chadwell likely will spend the rest of his life prison. A sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 16.

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