Teen's Kidnapper Gets Fourth Life Term in Panhandle

A convict serving three life sentences for armed robberies in other states has received a fourth here in Bay County for kidnapping a 16-year-old Laguna Beach girl during a three-state crime spree two years ago.

Ernie Paul Dugas of Rayne, Louisiana was sentenced Friday after pleading no contest to a state charge of abducting the girl from her home on the west end of Panama City Beach August 31, 2002.

She was released 14 hours later at an Interstate 10 rest stop near Orange, Texas. Dugas was arrested five days later in Louisiana.

The 16-year-old girl's kidnapping triggered the first ever Amber Alert for the northwest Florida area.

A Circuit Judge imposed the additional life term two weeks after 32-year-old Dugas had received a sentence of 26 years, seven months in U.S. District Court in Panama City several weeks ago.

He had pleaded guilty to federal charges of kidnapping, interstate travel to engage in sexual activity with a minor and illegal possession of a firearm.

It is unclear where Dugas will serve his sentences.


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