Eddie Wright, a man who claimed to be a street preacher also known as “the Reverend Ed,” is apparently a member of a group that was involved in kidnapping, torturing, and enslaving mentally-disabled adults for over 10 years in a scheme that has been called the “Basement of Horrors”. Wright has now been sentenced to 27 years prison.
Wright is the fourth of the five people charged in the horrifying case. The sentencing came days after Nicklaus Woodard was sentenced to 27 years prison for the same scheme. Last month, Jean McIntosh was also sentenced to 40 years for her role. She helped prosecutors build a case against her mother and the scheme’s mastermind, Linda Weston, who was sentenced to life in prison three years ago. Federal charges are still pending against Greg Thomas, Weston’s former boyfriend.
“The physical and psychological pain inflicted on the victims can only be described as pure, unadulterated torture,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, adding that the sentencings meant “justice has finally been served.”
All in all, the five suspects were charged with 196 counts after police discovered the basement and found four people there in October 2011. It was believed the victims were held captive since 2001.
Prosecutors said the suspects coerced to steal more than $200,000 in Social Security checks from the victims by pressuring them to make Weston their designated payee for their benefits. They shifted between several states to avoid getting caught, confining the mentally-disabled captives inside basements and starving them.
One of the captives even said she was forced to have a child with another captive. She testified that Weston and McIntosh took her child and said it died, but she had later known that they used the child to collect more benefits.
“Now it’s their turn to be locked away in a dark prison cell,” McSwain said. “My Office will do everything in its power to ensure each of them serves every second of the sentences the court imposed.”