HAMMOND | A 19-year-old Merrillville woman accused of kidnapping and robbing an online acquaintance has decided to forgo a jury trial and plead guilty to the lesser charge.
Federal prosecutors dropped the kidnapping charge against Diamond Toney this week in exchange for her guilty plea to using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and aiding and abetting.
The charges stem from an incident on March 17 when Toney began an online relationship with a Sauk Village man she decided to meet three days later at 73rd Avenue and Whitcomb Street in Merrillville. The man arrived at 10 p.m. to pick up Toney in his car, and as he pulled over to let her inside, Dedrick Bufkin, 20, of Merrillville, walked up and pointed a gun at the man’s head, according to the federal indictment.
Bufkin and Toney then allegedly tied the man up, took $100 from him and put him the trunk of the car. According to the victim, after about four to five hours of driving around, stopping at stores and plotting other robberies, they released him. He then reported the incident to Merrillville police.
Police then went to Toney’s home where they found her with Bufkin. They both made spontaneous statements implicating themselves in the incident, waived their Miranda rights and confessed to robbing and tying up the victim, the indictment stated.
Bufkin previously pleaded guilty to the same weapons charge in exchange for dropping the kidnapping charge.
Toney and Bufkin, who face seven years to life in prison, will be sentenced Nov. 25 before Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.