Christian Marcel Garner, 39, was sentenced to 15 years after pleading no contest to kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery.
PANAMA CITY — Moments before going in front of a jury, a Bay County man pleaded no contest to kidnapping a man, stabbing him and beating him with hammer while forcing him to purchase items in lieu of a drug debt, according to court records.
Christian Marcel Garner, 39, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison in the moments before a jury was seated for his trial. He was arrested in January 2017 after the victim walked into the Panama City Police Department and told officers Garner had driven him through Panama City to stores and ATMs while attacking him with a hammer and knife for no reason. Police later learned it actually was because the victim racked up a $1,200 prescription pill debt. Garner on Monday pleaded no contest to kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery.
According to PCPD reports, the victim told officers he had gotten into Garner’s car at an Exxon Gas station in Panama City Beach. They then drove “at a rapid speed” across the bridge to Panama City, officers reported, when Garner allegedly demanded all the money the victim had.
The victim “told Garner that he didn’t have any cash, and Garner then stated he was going to take him to … an ATM to withdraw more money,” officers wrote. “During this time, Garner began to strike (the victim) in the face and head with the blunt and claw end of a hammer. (The victim) stated it was obvious Garner was not trying to kill him by how hard he was hitting him with the hammer, but felt it would eventually happen.”
At a stop light, Garner demanded the victim put his hand on the dashboard, where Garner then allegedly stabbed the blade of a dull pocket knife through the top of the victim’s hand. Once the blade went in, Garner jostled the blade back and forth and later stabbed the victim in the leg with the knife and struck him repeatedly in the face, police reported.
Once they arrived at the ATM, Garner learned the victim had only $10 in his account, became upset and took the victim’s wallet from him. They then drove to stores, where Garner bought two laptops for $858, liquor for $36 and then paid for a hotel room with the victim’s credit card before dropping him back off at his car, police reported.
“Garner stated he now had (the victim’s) address and if he didn’t comply he would rape and kill his wife and children,” officers wrote. “Then kill (the victim).”
PCPD obtained an arrest warrant for Garner and days later found him hiding in a children’s closet at a home on Harmon Avenue. During his interview with officers, Garner gave context to the incident.
Garner told officers that he had met the victim months earlier at the Exxon when Garner needed to have his dead battery jumped. The two began talking about pills, and Garner had been selling the victim pain pills ever since, police reported.
“Garner stated he had sold (the victim) a lot of pills and often times, would ‘front’ him pills so (the victim) didn’t have to pay,” officers wrote. “After a short time, (the victim) racked up a debt of $1,200.”
When he picked him up the day of the kidnapping, the victim began saying that Garner owed him money. That upset Garner because of the hefty debt already accrued by the victim. Garner then admitted to attacking the victim with his fists and a hammer to “let (the victim) know he was serious about getting repaid” while he drove him to stores to repay the drug debt, officers wrote.
Garner denied stabbing the victim with a knife.