Vidalia man gets maximum sentence for kidnapping, attempted murder of female jogger
Published 12:56 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023
NATCHEZ — Circuit Court Judge Carmen Drake told Chris Bamburg he struck fear in the hearts of the entire community when on June 4, 2021, he kidnapped and attempted to murder a young woman who was out for a run in Natchez.
But instead of finding an easy mark, his victim turned out to be a warrior, Drake told Bamburg.
“You weren’t going to leave a witness. It was almost as if you had done this before,” the judge said. “And I believe if released, you will do this again.”
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Drake imposed the maximum sentence possible— 30 years, for the charge of kidnapping. And she added 33 years — a year under his 34-year life expectancy, which is the maximum allowed — for the attempted murder charge.
She said his sentences would run consecutively, meaning one after the other. She also issued an emergency order that Bamburg be immediately placed in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
“You thought it was going to be easy. But you found a warrior,” Drake said, referring to the victim, who despite terrible injuries inflicted on her by Bamburg, fought until she was able to get away.
The victim was out for a run on the morning of June 4, when Bamburg stopped her under the guise of asking for directions. She turned to continue her run when he attacked her from behind and dragged her to his truck. The victim said Bamburg told her repeatedly he was “going to f-ing kill” her.
Bamburg used his gun to beat her on the head multiple times. When he got her in his truck, the victim saw a roll of duct tape and zip ties. She continued to struggle with Bamburg when he tried to get her under control by zip tying her arms. That’s when the victim bit Bamburg in the arm and was able to run away.
After spending more than two years in jail, on the day of his trial was set to begin, Bamburg entered a guilty plea on Tuesday to the kidnapping and attempted murder charges for which he was indicted by a grand jury.
During his victim impact statement, the victim’s stepfather described his stepdaughter running into his home, “screaming, ‘I’ve been attacked!’ Our baby girl had blood pouring down her face. The only thing we could see other than blood was the white of her eyes.”
Her stepfather ran outside and the victim yelled at him, “It’s a man, Pawpaw, and he has a gun.” When he got outside, the man was gone, but he found a brand new roll of Gorilla duct tape lying in his front yard.
The victim’s stepfather thanked Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten and his deputies, who he said were tireless in their pursuit to find Bamburg.
Patten quickly loaded video from the cameras of neighboring homes, which showed Bamburg’s vehicle, onto social media.
The stepfather said her family would have never known what happened to the victim, had God not been on her side.
“God gave her the stamina to fight and free herself,” the stepfather said. “We have forgiven him, but he should pay for the consequences of his actions.”
The victim’s husband said in the moment of Bamburg’s attack, “her whole world changed forever.” He said his wife was left with bruises and cuts on her fingers, hands and arms from fighting for her life.
He described walking into the room at the Merit Hospital Emergency Department and seeing his wife.
“It was like a scene from a horror movie,” he said. The victim suffered six, gaping lacerations on her head, made when Bamburg beat her repeatedly with his gun. The cuts required a surgeon and staples to close.
The victim’s husband asked Judge Drake to impose the maximum sentence possible on Bamburg.
“His intentions were to kill her,” he said. “Put him away for the longest time you can.”
District Attorney Shameca Collins also asked Collins for a maximum sentence for Bamburg.
“This was an atrocious crime,” Collins said. “This was a man who in the middle of the day drove through a neighborhood with zip ties and duct tape and a gun … There is no way he can be rehabilitated.”
She said it is only because of the victim’s strength and stamina that her family was in the courtroom on Thursday, rather than attending her funeral in June 2021.
Bamburg’s brother, Joseph Bamburg; ex-wife Tracy Bamburg; and half-brother Robert Bamburg spoke on behalf of Bamburg.
Joseph Bamburg said it was not typical behavior for his brother, noted he was under pressure in his life, did nothing to hide his identity and turned himself in to to the sheriff the next day.
Tracy Bamburg said Bamburg had been a good husband and dad and a good person. She apologized to the victim and her family and said, “I can’t even imagine how she feels.” She said she “hates that he can’t be involved in my kids’ life.”
Robert Bamburg said he wished he had an explanation for Bamburg’s behavior and said he hopes that his sentencing helps the victim and her family heal.
Bamburg spoke, too, saying he has found God and said, “I am sorry for the pain and suffering I have caused. All I can do is accept responsibility.”
Defense Attorney Noah Drake of Vicksburg said his client wants to take full accountability of his crime and did not want to put the victim through anything else.
“The client asks the court for mercy,” Drake said.
Drake said she appreciated the eloquent words of the victim and those who spoke on her behalf. She said the victim wrote a statement that “shocked” her.
“Typically, when you read a victim’s impact statement, the victim asks for the person to be put away forever. She didn’t do that. She just wants him to serve a long sentence. (The victim) is focused on being thankful and hopeful. Thankful that God gave her the strength to survive, and hopeful that anyone else in her position will do the same that she did,” Drake said.
To Bamburg’s family, Drake said, “I am glad you never met the monster in him.”