Alexander Filatov prayed to God as he lay curled in a fetal position in the trunk of his car, held against his will for eight hours and thinking, “I’m going to be killed today.”
Filatov, now 20, recounted his terror on Monday at the sentencing hearing of his kidnapper, Travis Landry, who had arranged to meet him in Portland on April 24, 2013, to consider buying Filatov’s BMW. But instead of giving him money for the car, Landry showed Filatov a gun and ordered him into the trunk for a harrowing ride to Delaware before releasing him.
Landry, who stole the car to drive to Texas to see his estranged wife, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen to 14 years in federal prison.
Landry, 30, of Surry, first arranged to meet Filatov at Motel 6 in Portland, where Landry was staying, after he saw an advertisement for Filatov’s 2004 sedan on Craigslist. Filatov went with him on a test drive to Westbrook, where they stopped to fill out paperwork.
When Landry first ordered Filatov into the trunk of the car, Filatov at first didn’t believe Landry was serious. But when Landry, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall, lifted his shirt to show Filatov a handgun in his waistband, Filatov did as he was told.
“At that point, after Travis showed me a gun, and he told me to get in the trunk, I thought this is the last day I’m going to be living,” said Filatov, facing Landry in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Filatov described squeezing his 5-foot-11 frame into the 4-by-3-foot trunk, and riding there for 10 minutes before the car came to a stop.
“When the car stopped, I thought he found some really dark spot, and I thought he was going to kill me there. But he opened the trunk and just took my wallet and cut the latch to open the trunk from the inside,” said Filatov, a Russian native who now lives in Gorham.
Landry then drove with Filatov in the trunk for eight more hours before reaching a remote, wooded area in Delaware, opening the trunk and ordering Filatov out. Filatov said he ran to a tree for cover until Landry drove off. He was able to find an open Dunkin’ Donuts and call the police, although it was about 4 a.m.
“When the car stopped, I thought this was probably the end, so I said the last prayer,” Filatov said. “My legs were pretty numb, but I still run as fast as I can. ... I thought he would come back for me.”
Landry, a U.S. Army veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq, pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to charges of kidnapping and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
After leaving Filatov in Delaware, Landry drove the stolen car to Texas, where he went first to see a woman he had met online and stole items from her. He then visited his estranged wife in Killeen, Texas. He was arrested on May 7 after a high-speed chase in North Carolina that ended after he crashed into several police cruisers.
Landry, dressed in a tan prison uniform with a bushy red beard and shaved head, apologized to Filatov on Monday.
“I am truly sorry for what I have done,” said Landry. “Not only am I sorry for what happened, I take full responsibility.”
Landry, who reached the rank of staff sergeant in the Army, served as a machine gunner atop an armored vehicle in Iraq. His convoy was struck 13 times by roadside explosives during his tours of duty. He suffered from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, heavy drinking and drug use after he was discharged, according to his attorney, federal defender David Beneman.
Landry said that when he drove the stolen BMW to see his wife one last time, “I was suicidal. I wanted out,” he said.
The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Chapman, had sought a stiffer sentence of more than 18 years in prison, saying Landry put Filatov in “utter fear.”
The judge described Landry’s actions as “cruel” and “inhuman” but acknowledged that he “struggled mightily” after his discharge from the Army.
Torresen also sentenced Landry to serve five years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term, and ordered him to pay nearly $5,541 in restitution.