Guilty plea expected in Va. school bus abduction of 9-year-old girl

A Virginia man who was indicted on four felony counts in the abduction of a 9-year-old girl is expected to plead guilty, WTOP has learned.

Online court records show 35-year-old Steven Randall Williams is expected to enter a plea on Feb. 17, 2023, in Stafford County Circuit Court.



The reported abduction happened Jan. 28, 2022. Investigators have said Williams scooped the girl up moments after she got off a school bus and carried her to the passenger seat of his Buick Regal. When Williams went around the car to get in the driver’s side, the girl opened the door and ran home.

In July, Williams was indicted on four felony counts: abduction with intent to defile, abduction with intent to extort money, abduction, and taking or detaining a person with intent to defile.

Asked by WTOP to describe which charges Williams will plead to, and whether the plea is based upon a plea agreement, Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen said he can’t discuss the matter in detail: “On February 17, 2023, we expect that the defendant will enter a plea of guilty.”

Defense attorney Mark Murphy did not immediately respond to a WTOP request to detail the charges to which his client will plead, or whether both sides agreed to sentencing parameters.

As WTOP first reported, Williams was on probation at the time of the January incident — for a 2016 home invasion in which he tied up a woman and her 10-year-old son.

Williams has been held without bond since his arrest, which came after he had barricaded himself in his home for five hours.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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