A Palmdale man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to kidnapping his girlfriend and holding her hostage for nine days, during which prosecutors allege he repeatedly assaulted the woman and broke her jaw.
Giovanni Grey McKinnis, 19, faces more than a half-dozen charges, including corporal injury, kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, criminal threats and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said. He also faces a misdemeanor count of disobeying a domestic relations court order.
If convicted of the charges, prosecutors said McKinnis faces a maximum of 16 years in state prison.
Prosecutors allege McKinnis kidnapped the 20-year-old woman -- who is also the mother of his child -- on Dec. 27 and imprisoned her until Saturday. During that time, the victim was "threatened, beaten and punched by McKinnis," who also allegedly used a knife, the district attorney's office said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said its investigation began Saturday, when the woman's father reported her missing to authorities. The victim's mother later told detectives she saw McKinnis assault and kidnap her daughter, but said she didn't call police because he threatened to harm her daughter and grandchild, sheriff's officials said.
On Saturday night, detectives went to a Palmdale apartment where they believed McKinnis was keeping the victim, authorities said. There, deputies detained McKinnis while they searched the location.
"They found the victim cowering underneath a bed," Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Hudson told KTLA.
McKinnis was taken into custody. Hudson told the television station the woman also had been "choked to the point of losing consciousness."
"There's no doubt in our minds that if deputies from [the] Palmdale station had not intervened last night, this victim probably would have ended up dead," he added.
KTLA also interviewed McKinnis' grandmother, who denied the charges against her grandson. She said his girlfriend came to the apartment "of her own accord to pick up some of her belongings."
"That's not Giovanni at all," Frieda McKinnis said.
Giovanni McKinnis remained jailed Wednesday morning in lieu of $452,000 bail. He was due back in court Jan. 17.
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