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Man enters plea to abduction charge

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By Tom Wilmoth

A 77-year-old Bedford man pleaded no contest Friday to abducting a 22-year-old woman in April.

    According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Robinette, Emory Hale was driving on Independence Boulevard on April 20 when he spotted the woman walking along the side of the road. Hale stopped and asked the woman, who was walking to her job at Arby’s, if she wanted a ride to work.
    Robinette said that Hale didn’t take the exit to go to Arby’s and instead told the woman “they were just going to drive around and talk.”
    Robinette stated during the hearing in Bedford County Circuit Court that Hale reached his arm around the woman and attempted to fondle her breast. She eventually talked Hale into stopping the car and she got out and called a friend for a ride, he said.
    Prior to that she had contemplated whether she should jump out of the car while it was moving if he wouldn’t stop, Robinette said.
    “He told her she was ‘a real pretty young girl,’” Robinette said of the incident. He said Hale asked the woman whether she had a boyfriend.
    Hale’s attorney, Michael Lonchar, said while his client had a different account of what happened, his client acknowledged that she asked him to stop the vehicle which he didn’t immediately do.
    Adjudication and sentencing has been set for Friday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m.
    Hale remained out on $10,000 secured bond. He could receive up to 12 months in jail or from one to 10 years in prison on the charge.