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A woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint by her estranged husband in New London two years ago described the harrowing experience to a judge Friday as 35-year-old Percy Lobaton was sentenced to eight years in prison for kidnapping and violation of a restraining order.
"I thought he was going to kill me," Elizabeth Egas repeated throughout her testimony.
Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, the former Mrs. Lobaton said she pleaded for her life and told her estranged husband to think of their son when he accosted her in her van near the intersection of Broad and Jefferson streets with a gun on Feb. 14, 2010.
She said Lobaton pointed a gun at her and demanded she open the door. She said he pushed her onto the passenger seat and got into the car, saying everything that had gone wrong between them was her fault. She said he drove south on Interstate 95 with the gun pointed at her head.
Fearing Lobaton was going to kill her, Egas said she hatched a plan to use her own blood to write his name so that someone would know what happened. She said she convinced him to stop at the rest area in Milford so that she could use the bathroom. There, she grabbed a woman and wrote her name on the woman's hand, along with Lobaton's name and her mother's name and phone number.
Lobaton forced her out of the bathroom, she said, and they continued driving south. At one point, she said she managed to wrest the gun away from him and throw it out the window. Meanwhile, New London police relayed information on the couple's whereabouts to state police, who stopped the van near Exit 8 in Stamford and took Lobaton into custody. As the police approached, Egas said Lobaton told her that "he was going to get out of jail and the first thing he was going to do was kill me."
Lobaton denied using a gun, but prosecutor David J. Smith said police recovered a pellet gun at the spot where the victim said she had thrown it from the car. Smith said Lobaton had left his Subaru station wagon running when he kidnapped his estranged wife and that police found a duffel bag containing duct tape, rope and ear plugs on the front seat.
Lobaton, who had two pending domestic violence cases when he was arrested, was under a restraining order that prohibited him from having contact with Egas. Their divorce was to be finalized a month later. Hearing his ex-wife describe the incident, Lobaton, who has been held in lieu of $150,000 while his case was pending, told the judge he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. Judge Patrick J. Clifford denied the request, and Lobaton said he would be appealing.
The judge issued a standing criminal protective order prohibiting Lobaton from contact with the victim for 40 years. Egas said Lobaton is requesting visitation with their son, who is 4, and asked the judge to deny the request. Clifford, a criminal judge, said it was an issue for family court.
"Do I think he should have any visitation?" Clifford said. "It doesn't sound like he does, based on this incident, but I'm not the family judge."