Police News

ERIE — A 25-year-old Erie man will spend at least 13 1/2 years behind bars for kidnapping a couple at gunpoint and then forcing them to drive to a camp in the Spartansburg area, allegedly to kill them.

Brandon Charles Auen was sentenced to serve 13 1/2 to 27 years in state prison on two counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary and one count of aggravated assault, all of which are first-degree felonies, according to online court dockets.

Auen's sentencing took place on Wednesday at the Erie County Courthouse before Judge David Ridge.

He received 3 1/2 to 7 years for each count of kidnapping and aggravated assault, and 3 to 6 years for the burglary charge. The judge ordered his sentences to be served consecutively.

Ridge also ordered Auen to pay restitution in the amount of $20,572.94 and one-year of mandatory re-entry supervision. He is not eligible for the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI).

Auen has been incarcerated at Erie County Prison since Sept. 25, 2020, on $250,000 bond.

He pleaded guilty to the four felony charges on Oct. 27, 2021. About 21 other charges, including attempted criminal homicide, sexual extortion, terroristic threats, stalking, unlawful restraint and more, were dismissed.

Troopers from the Corry barracks of Pennsylvania State Police were dispatched to a crashed vehicle with an armed individual at the scene near the intersection of Route 77 and Sportsman Road in Sparta Township at about 1:05 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.

The person who called in the crash stated the armed individual, who was later identified as Auen, were holding two victims at gunpoint. When troopers arrived at the scene, they took Auen into custody without incident and he was in possession of a handgun.

An investigation by state police later discovered that Auen had kidnapped the two victims — a 22-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man — from a residence on Auburn Street in the city of Erie. Police said both victims related similar stories of the events that took place starting at about 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

Police said Auen entered the residence through an unlocked door and pointed a handgun at both victims. He proceeded to physically assault the woman by hitting her with the gun and his fists. Auen then forced the woman to undress.

He then had the woman get dressed and forced both victims to leave the residence and get into the man's car at gunpoint. Troopers said he placed the handgun to the back of the woman's head while the man drove the vehicle and Auen instructed him where to go.

Auen told the pair multiple times that he was taking them to his camp near Spartansburg where he intended to murder them, according to police.

When the male victim saw a road sign indicating they were only a few miles from Spartansburg, he decided to crash the vehicle into a guide rail to stop Auen from following through with his plan.

Police said the intentional crash enabled Corry troopers to be notified of the incident from a call placed to PSP by an individual that Auen had called after the wreck.

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