Third suspect in kidnapping charged

Man allegedly tortured, raped over $700 drug debt


A third person is now charged in the alleged kidnapping and rape of a man in Altoona.

Benjamin I. Phillips, 38, of Tyrone was charged Wednesday for his role in the May 6 incident in which Altoona po­lice say Tara Sprankle, 37, and Justin Keller, 34, bound and tortured a man over a $700 drug debt.

Keller is also accused of raping the man after Sprankle left her apartment on the 300 block of Seventh Street to try to get money from the man’s father.

Police said the man arrived at Sprankle’s apartment on May 5 because he owed her money for drugs and was supposed to get a check cashed Monday to pay his debt. When the pair tried to wake him the afternoon of May 6, he allegedly told them to “f— off,” and it was then that Keller pushed him to the floor and handcuffed him before the pair put him in a chair and taped his legs at about 5 p.m.

The pair allegedly burned the man with cigarettes, shot him at close range with a BB gun, slapped him and otherwise assaulted him before he was raped by Keller and then freed about 1 a.m. May 7.

Phillips, whom the alleged victim said he knew as “Boog,” allegedly took part in the assault when he was at the apartment for about an hour on the evening of May 6.

The alleged victim told police that Phillips, whom he picked out of a photo lineup, began “stomping” the back of his legs during the incident, and both Keller and Sprankle allegedly told officers that Phillips kicked the man.

Keller allegedly said Phillips kicked the alleged victim on the hip and waist area and Sprankle al­legedly told police she saw Phillips “maybe kick” the man in the foot once, according to the charges.

Keller and Sprankle both re­main in jail are due to appear at Central Court for a preliminary hearing on May 29.

Bail for Keller remains at $350,000 cash, and Sprankle’s bail is $250,000 cash.

Phillips remained at large as of Friday.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.


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