I-TEAM: Plea bargain possible for suspected ‘serial abductor’

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The FOX 8 I TEAM has learned  of a possible plea bargain for a man suspected of kidnapping a 6-year-old girl from her home and sexually assaulting her in addition to trying to kidnap a 10-year-old girl from her home.

Plea negotiations have reached a critical point for Justin Christian.

His case had been set for trial today before Judge Nancy Russo, but it was postponed due to discussions surrounding a plea offer.  Monday, he appeared in court briefly. Judge Russo gave his attorneys a week to finalize a plea deal or go to trial.

Christian’s case has developed into a landmark case in Ohio since Cuyahoga County prosecutors and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation built the evidence with the help of familial DNA. That is, a new technique to gather evidence involving the DNA of a suspect’s family members.

Christian stands accused of grabbing a 6-year-old girl from her home on Cleveland’s west side, taking her to another home, sexually assaulting her, then dropping her back off on the west side. Investigators say he also tried to snatch a 10-year-old girl from her bed at a home in Lorain County, but she was able to pull away.

Continuing coverage here.