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COPY-Uncle gets 25 years for kidnapping, assaulting niece

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ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man who led police on an eight-day manhunt after he took his niece out of a school and then disappeared with her has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports ( ) that the Hawkins County Circuit Court Clerk confirmed that Gary Simpson had pleaded guilty Monday to kidnapping and sexually assaulting his 9-year-old niece. Simpson entered an Alford Plea, which is a guilty plea that does not admit wrongdoing but concedes there is enough evidence to prove charges in court.

Simpson was 57 years old when he picked up the girl from her school in May after lying and saying the child's father had been in a car accident.

He previously had custody of the girl before she was returned to her father.

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