Second Man Who Kidnapped Two Staffers Gets 15-Year Sentence

Posted May 2, 2003 at 5:03pm

The second of two men who kidnapped a pair of House staffers in September 2002 was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday.

D.C. Superior Judge Russell Canan handed down the sentence to Arvell Caldwell, 25, who pleaded guilty in December to kidnapping while armed. His co-defendant, Johnny Littlejohn, 32, was sentenced in April to 20 years in prison.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said Caldwell cooperated with the prosecution, which could explain his lower sentence.

Early on Sept. 18, 2002, the two defendants, armed with a loaded pistol, abducted Jerome Clarke and Eric Woehrman, both of whom work for Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.), from in front of their home on Maryland Avenue Northeast and took them to a nearby ATM. Telling them he couldn’t withdraw money there, Woehrman convinced the kidnappers to drive them to the Longworth House Office Building.

After parking several blocks away, Littlejohn forced Clarke out of the stolen Jeep at gunpoint and walked him to the Longworth entrance, where Clarke managed to tip off the Capitol Police. At the same time, Woehrman was able to disarm Caldwell in the Jeep, where they were waiting. Two shots were fired during the struggle, but no one was injured.