PORTLAND — A South Carolina man charged with kidnapping a woman and driving her from that state to Lewiston two years ago, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal stalking charge.

Dustin Beach Courtesy Androscoggin County Jail

Dustin Beach, 27, of Green Pond, South Carolina, appeared by videoconference in U.S. District Court from Cumberland County Jail.

He pleaded guilty Wednesday to interstate stalking and agreed to serve a 10-year prison sentence if other charges in a superseding grand jury indictment are dismissed by prosecutors when he’s sentenced, which has not been scheduled.

Those charges include kidnapping and four counts of witness tampering.

The maximum punishment on the stalking charge is 10 years and up to a $250,000 fine.

The indictment states Beach transported the woman across state lines “with the intent to injure, harass and intimidate” her, and he placed her in “reasonable fear of serious bodily injury and caused (her) substantial emotional distress.”

A conviction for kidnapping is punishable by up to a life sentence in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge George Z. Singal said Wednesday that he would decide whether to accept Beach’s plea at the time of sentencing after reviewing a presentencing investigation memorandum.

Singal ordered Beach to remain in jail until sentencing.

Beach said Wednesday that he had a sixth-grade education and was taking four medications, including two antidepressants.

The judge found he was competent to make a plea.

Federal investigators said at the time of his arrest in Maine in July 2019 that Beach was facing similar kidnapping charges in South Carolina, as well as drug and gun charges. He reportedly assaulted his girlfriend with a bull whip, a stick, a shotgun and a pistol over two days. She said he had taken her cellphone to prevent her from seeking help, investigators said in court papers.

After his release from jail in South Carolina, Beach reportedly cut off a GPS tracking monitor, the federal officials said.

In the Maine case, investigators said Beach forced a woman to stay in his pickup truck after offering her a ride to Walmart in South Carolina, then told her he couldn’t release her because he was wanted. She told investigators he smashed her cellphone along the trip to Maine.

She also told them he held her face under water until she passed out. He hit her at various times with a cane, a hammer, the center console of his truck and his fists, feet and elbow. She said she repeatedly pleaded to be released, but Beach refused and threatened to kill her children and her.

On July 25, 2019, at about 2:30 a.m., following up on a call from emergency dispatchers of a woman who’d been hit with a hammer, Lewiston police found the woman sitting in the lobby of a motel on Lisbon Street wearing large, dark sunglasses. They could see bruises on her throat and chest. She asked police if they could take her from the motel before her assailant returned, according to police.

Beach told police he had asked the woman if she wanted to go to Maine and she accepted his invitation to take her. He said he had been trying to help her leave the house she had lived in. He also said her injuries predated his contacts with her and that they had consensual sex, according to police.

Evidence found in Beach’s truck included items the woman told police they would find, including her smashed cellphone, a black-handled hammer, a cane and a shirt she said she had worn that was stained with her blood, police said.

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