ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) – A Boyd County man accused in a shooting that injured a police officer has pleaded guilty to kidnapping in a connected case.
According to Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, says Jonathan Lee Smithers, 41, pleaded guilty today, Sept. 22, 2022, to a federal kidnapping charge. As part of the plea agreement, Smithers faces a sentence of life in prison.
The plea agreement states that on May 1, 2022, Smithers physically assaulted a woman whom he was in a romantic relationship with before using a firearm and threat of force to make her go to a store with him. Shier says Smithers then brandished the weapon, assaulted the woman with it and confined her in a vehicle before driving to the Flatwoods, Kentucky, area.
Court records say Smithers then forced the woman to get out of the vehicle and accompany him on foot – making her climb fences, trespass on private property and take random routes throughout the area for “several hours.” Court records say the woman escaped and hid from Smithers. She was then later found by police collapsed at a gas station.
According to Shier’s office, Smithers was seen walking out of the woods in the area where he had taken the woman, and authorities responded. At the time of the incident, Kentucky State Police said the call was for “a suspicious person.”
Officer Tom Robinson with the Flatwoods Police Department responded and made contact with Smithers. As Robinson approached, he was shot in the throat, allegedly by Smithers. Robinson was taken for medical treatment and survived his injuries. Smithers was subsequently charged with attempted murder in connection to the shooting.
Along with the kidnapping charge in this case and the attempted murder charges, Smithers also faces child pornography charges in a case that came about through the investigation into the first two incidents.