Louisiana man sentenced to life in federal prison for weapon charges and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTVE/KARD) — On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 54-year-old Dillon James Merritt was sentenced to life in federal prison for weapon charges, interstate domestic violence, and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend. This sentence is a result of two separate cases.

In the first case, Merritt was arrested for Illegal Possession of a Firearm on January 12, 2018. He was charged in December 2019 with two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. After Merritt went to trial in April 2021, he was convicted by a federal jury on both counts.

In the second case, he was charged with one count of kidnapping, two counts of interstate domestic violence, and one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. According to the evidence at the jury trial, on December 12, 2017, Merritt kidnapped a woman in Natchitoches, La. and took her across the state lines to Texas holding her against her will for four days.

Merritt and the victim dated in the fall of 2017, but ended their relationship after he punched the victim in the stomach during an argument. After the breakup, he constantly called the victim and harassed her.

During the evening hours of December 12, 2017, he found the victim walking back home from visiting with a friend near a Walmart parking lot in Natchitoches. Merritt struck her in the head and put her in a truck. Merritt gagged the victim and hid her under clothing in the vehicle for the next several days. The victim was taken to various locations in Louisiana and in Texas near Toledo Bend.

Merritt repeatedly raped the victim, doused her with lighter fluid, and attempted to set her on fire. He severely beat her with his fists, elbows, feet, and with a Maglite flashlight over a four-day period causing bodily injury to the victim.

In addition to harming and kidnapping the victim, he possessed several grams of methamphetamine. Along with his life sentence, he was sentenced to 600 additional months in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release.

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