Trial underway for man accused of taking two children hostage in 2012

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 3:28 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A man accused of taking two children hostage during a standoff in 2012 is standing trial in Calcasieu court.

Kendal Runnels, 42, is charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of illegal use of a weapon.

Prosecutors allege Runnels discharged a gun in the house with the children during a standoff with police on McNabb Street on Aug. 21, 2012. Prosecutors say Runnels first tried to put his girlfriend and her three children in a closet, then, after they all went outside, brought two of the children back into the house while their mother and sibling were outside.

This afternoon jurors heard recorded interviews with the two small children held in the house. And they heard testimony from the children’s mother who was frantic after she became separated from two of her children, ages six and seven.

Jurors heard the video recollections of a then seven-year-old girl and six year old boy about what happened. They do remember Runnels pushing a gun under a bed and putting a dresser and television in front of a door to prevent anyone from getting to them.

The children’s mother testified how Runnels was her boyfriend and that during the incident he acted strangely and may have been under the influence of drugs. She ran to the neighbors banging on the door for help after being separated from two of her children.

She testified runnels acted as though he was afraid of something and said, “they’re coming,” but that he never said who. She testified there was no one outside.

The jury saw pictures of the gun and bullet holes and saw video of Runnels surrendering four hours after the disturbance started.

The prosecutor, Bobby Holmes, told jurors there will be no doubt about Runnels’ guilty. Yet defense attorney Harold Thibodeaux questions that, telling jurors that Runnels believed he was protecting the children and suggested they will have reasonable doubt about whether Runnels should be found guilty.

The trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

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