BRADENTON — The man who kidnapped 13-year-old Clay Moore from his Parrish bus stop in 2007 will spend the rest of his life in prison, a judge ruled this morning.
Circuit Judge Thomas Gallen sentenced Vincente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno, 24, to life in prison after a jury found him guilty in June of armed kidnapping with a firearm. Beltran-Moreno will have 30 days to appeal the sentence.
Gallen called Beltran-Moreno’s crime “especially atrocious and cruel,” before the sentencing of the Mexican national who abducted Clay from his bus stop on Feb. 23, 2007.
Prosecutors said Beltran-Moreno covered Clay’s mouth with duct tape and bound him to a tree with the boy’s shoelaces in a wooded area of a farm in East Manatee. He then fled to Mexico and had to be coaxed back into the country by FBI negotiators.
“If there is the potential that this sentence will prevent one kidnapping of a child, then the criminal justice system has served it purpose,” Gallen said.
Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten read written statements penned by Clay and his family before sentencing in which the family, including Clay, asked for the maximum sentence.
“I don’t want this to happen to any person again,” Clay wrote. “I don’t want to be known as Clay Moore, the kidnapping victim. I just want to be known as Clay Moore.”