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Gainesville man sentenced to life in prison in kidnapping case
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A Gainesville man was found guilty late Wednesday by a Hall County jury of kidnapping and other charges.

Jesus Arroyo Vargas, 35, was convicted of kidnapping with bodily injury, false imprisonment, sexual battery and criminal trespass of property following a Sept. 5 incident near Airport Drive in Gainesville. The jury returned the verdict at almost midnight.

Vargas was also charged with aggravated sexual battery and was convicted of the lesser charge of simple battery.

Vargas’ attorney, Michael Saul, said the encounter was consensual, that the victim had a reason to make up the story and that he will be filing an appeal.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Juliet Aldridge and Chief Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Burton prosecuted the case.

Judge Andrew Fuller presided.

Vargas was sentenced to life in prison on the kidnapping charge, one year for simple battery, five years for false imprisonment, one year for sexual battery and one year for criminal trespass of property, all running concurrently.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident at about 5:20 that evening in the 800 block of Erskine Street, south of Gainesville.

A Gainesville woman had gone to Vargas’ residence to retrieve some items and when she arrived, she was attacked, according to the sheriff’s office.

Vargas dragged her into the house, sexually assaulted her and then after a short time allowed her to leave, pushing her out the door, sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said. At some point during the incident the victim also reported that Vargas threw her cellphone and damaged it.

Testimony included that from a first responding officer, a neighbor who called 911, a sexual assault nurse examiner, two Georgia Bureau of Investigations forensic biologists and the lead investigator on the case.