July 17, 2014

Mineral Man Sentenced on Kidnapping, Interstate Domestic Violence, and Gun Charges

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—A Louisa County man who was convicted of kidnapping his estranged wife, transporting her to West Virginia and sexually assaulting her, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Thomas Earl Faulls, 48, of Mineral, Va., was convicted by a jury earlier this year of one count of kidnapping, one count of interstate domestic violence and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Today in District Court, he was sentenced to 295 months in federal prison and 15 years of supervised release thereafter. Because the jury found that the kidnapping conviction involved a sex offense as well, Faulls was further ordered to register as a sex offender upon his release.

“Mr. Faulls carefully planned and executed a scheme to kidnap and assault his estranged wife,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “His actions were the culmination of a long-running pattern of abuse he visited upon the victim in this case. If not for the brave actions of the victim, this incident could have had a more tragic ending.”

According to evidence presented during the February 2014 jury trial, and other hearings, by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy S. Healey, Faulls and the victim were married for more than 20 years before the victim ended the marriage due to a long history of domestic abuse by the defendant. When the victim finally decided to leave her husband, Faulls engaged in escalating threatening and assaultive behavior against his ex-wife, including the display of a firearm, a claim of possession of a firearm, striking his ex-wife’s vehicle and making a threat or suggestion that he would kill his ex-wife.

On August 22, 2012, Faulls called his estranged wife and requested that she come to the home they formerly shared in Mineral, Va., and transport him to his truck, which he claimed was in the shop for repairs. The victim agreed and met him at the home later that evening. Unbeknownst to the victim, in preparation for the encounter Faulls had parked his truck behind the home and out-of-sight. The defendant had packed the truck with clothes and camping gear. He also disabled the front passenger door handle and window, thus making it impossible to escape through that door. Upon arrival, Faulls threatened to bind the victim and showed her zip ties that he previously fashioned into constraints. The defendant also brought thousands of dollars of cash and a shotgun. He also discarded the victim’s cell phone. Faulls also rebuffed various family members’ attempts to check on the well-being of the victim.

The evidence at trial showed that the victim was transported, against her will, to West Virginia, where she and the defendant stayed the night in a hotel. The following morning, against her will, the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim.

The victim ultimately made a decision to get the defendant drunk at a local restaurant, and while they were walking back to the hotel through a nearby neighborhood, the victim was able to run and solicit help from two good Samaritans who called 911 and drove her to find local law enforcement.

Following his arrest and prior to his trial, Faulls made several jailhouse phone calls during which he attempted to convince his mother to contact the victim in the case and persuade her to change her story and drop the charges against him.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenbrier, West Virginia, Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy S. Healey and Robert Abendroth prosecuted the case for the United States.