LONDON, Ky. (FOX 56) – George Oscar Messer, 62, of Whitley County, was handed a life sentence on Wednesday.

Messer was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of kidnapping in January.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the kidnappings were motivated by an unsuccessful drug transaction.

Messer arrived at the scene of the kidnappings with numerous firearms, including an assault rifle and a .44 magnum revolver. He reportedly held the handgun to the victim’s head while demanding money.

After learning that one of his co-conspirators raped the second victim, Messer proceeded to bind the second victim and sexually assaulted her again, while holding her at gunpoint, according to the DOJ.

The two victims were held for 24 hours, where they were said to have been: interrogated, threatened, and assaulted. They managed to escape after a family member saw them in a ditch with Messer.

Upon searching Messer’s residence, law enforcement found 15 firearms and numerous controlled substances.

He was indicted in November 2020 but his co-conspirators are still awaiting sentencing.

“This is an unsettling example of the disturbing effects of illegal drug trafficking on our communities,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  “In this case, it also wrought armed kidnappings, tortuous threats, and repeated sexual assaults.  That unconstrained violence and unspeakable infliction of suffering certainly warrants the sentence imposed.  I want to commend our law enforcement partners for their dedicated efforts in this case, without which this prosecution would not have been possible.”    

“This defendant was part of an armed drug-trafficking organization that committed heinous acts of violence,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Division.  “I commend the efforts of the ATF agents and Kentucky State Police who worked diligently on this investigation to help bring justice to the victims who were kidnapped, tortured, and forced to endure the unimaginable.  We hope that this life sentence brings some form of healing to the victims and sends a very clear message that ATF and our law enforcement partners will not stand by and allow these acts of violence.”

Messer holds a prior conviction of third-degree sexual abuse in 2014 from Whitley County.