An 87-year-old Kennewick woman will never see her great-grandson again after he targeted her in an apparent murder plot just to steal her car. Dyllan K. Martin and his friend, Billy J. Underwood, planned to attack and kill Hazel Abel.
They tied her up, gagged her, placed her in the trunk of her 2001 Dodge Neon. They drove her six hours into Oregon before she escaped when they stopped at a Walmart for food and supplies.
“I can’t begin to tell you boys how sorry I am for what you’ve all been through these past few months,” Abel said in a statement read to the court. “It could have ended so much worse than it did if you’d carried out the plans you had for me.”
In separate hearings Thursday, Judge Alex Ekstrom found that Underwood “physically executed more of the plan, but Mr. Martin offered up his great-grandmother.” For that, Ekstrom ordered Underwood to serve 10 1/2years for the abduction — one more year than Martin’s 9 1/2 -year sentence.
The Benton County Superior Court judge said it was appropriate to go above the standard range for kidnapping because both teens knew their actions on Nov. 2 were wrong and that Abel was vulnerable and incapable of resistance.
“It’s a case where the mind simply wants to turn away from the image of Ms. Abel locked in her own trunk,” Ekstrom said.
Martin, now 17, and Underwood, 15, showed “a profound lack of respect for someone who has obtained that age,” said Ekstrom. He separately noted it was to Abel’s credit that, while sitting in the front row of court for almost two hours, she had been gracious and composed beyond what one could expect in such circumstances.