GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA . Curtis Kennedy Williams, 31, of Gainesville, has been sentenced to 43 years and 9 months in federal prison for kidnapping, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Williams was convicted on July 27, 2016, following a jury trial. Co-defendant Shakayla Nicole Taylor, 22, of Harvey, Louisiana, was sentenced in September 2016 to 72 months in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping. The sentences were announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

In October 2015, Williams and Taylor kidnapped a young woman in Gainesville by forcing her into a car and holding her at gunpoint. Taylor then drove them to her Louisiana residence. During the trip, Williams raped and beat the victim, and fired the gun into the backseat of the car. Williams and Taylor were arrested at an apartment complex in Louisiana where the victim was also rescued.

U.S. Attorney Canova said: “Combatting violent crime is a top priority for my office, the Department of Justice, and our many federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who tirelessly work to keep our communities safe. While a prison sentence cannot reverse the unspeakable trauma inflicted on the victim, it sends a strong message that those who commit brutal crimes and put other people’s lives in danger face serious consequences under the law.”

Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville division, said:“The FBI is committed to thoroughly investigating violent crimes of this nature, and we will continue to work with our local and state law enforcement partners to hold offenders accountable and ensure justice for their victims.”

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said: “Violent crime will not be tolerated in Alachua County. This case shows the complete cooperation within the law enforcement community to bring justice to violent criminals.”

This case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. Assistant United States Attorney Frank T. Williams prosecuted the case.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General