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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Ribble pleads guilty to federal kidnapping charges

  • A Bath woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Rochester to kidnapping a young mother and her baby at knifepoint last year.
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  • A Bath woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Rochester to kidnapping a young mother and her baby at knifepoint last year. 
    Billie Jo Ribble, 36, faces 20 years to life in prison when she is sentenced June 25 in U.S. District Court. 
    The incident began when Ribble was arrested on March 1, 2013 by Pennsylvania State Police and the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office at a Wal-Mart near Mansfield, Pa.
    Authorities had been looking for Ribble since October 2012, when she broke into a Town of Howard residence and stole $12,000 worth of property, including 15 guns, according to police.
    Police had received a tip that Ribble would be at the Mansfield Wal-Mart to meet an acquaintance, and set up a surveillance detail. 
    After her arrest, Ribble – pregnant at the time – complained of stomach pains and was taken to a hospital in Wellsboro, Pa.
    While at the hospital, Ribble assaulted a corrections officer assigned to guard her, leaped from a third-story window, landed on a second-story rooftop below and used a catwalk to reach the ground and escape, police say.
    Later that night, Ribble entered a nearby residence in Wellsboro and took a woman and her six-month-old baby hostage at knifepoint.
    Ribble demanded the woman drive her back to New York, sitting in the passenger seat and holding the baby and the knife during the ride. Ribble used the woman’s cell phone to arrange to be picked up at the Presho exit off Route 15, and the woman dropped her off.
    Police tracked the cell phone call to a house on Decatur Street in the City of Corning, and located Ribble there. She barricaded herself into the attic and threatened to harm herself and her unborn baby. 
    Steuben County sheriff’s deputies and Corning police convinced her to surrender after speaking to her for 45 minutes through the barricaded door.
    Federal kidnapping charges were filed about a week later.
    Ribble, a former standout basketball player at Campbell-Savona High School and Alfred State in the 1990’s, was previously sent to prison in 2003 for robbery and attempted assault, and again in 2009 for a parole violation. She was released in January 2012, according to the New York State Department of Corrections.

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