In a plea bargain, the housepainter at the TV star's Montana ranch will serve 10 years

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 13, 2005 09:00 AM

The house painter accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman’s young son and the boy’s nanny received a 10-year prison sentence on Monday – a plea-bargain deal in which prosecutors dropped the abduction charge and instead will punish him for overcharging the Late Show host for painting work at his Montana ranch.

Reading from a statement, Kelly Frank, 43, apologized in court Monday “for the grief that this has caused,” but he denied he ever intended to carry out a kidnapping. “In no way, shape or form was (the allegation) true, but nevertheless, it was devastating,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Frank was arrested in March after investigators said he told an acquaintance of a plan to abduct Letterman’s then 16-month-old son, Harry Joseph, and the nanny. The acquaintance told authorities that Frank said he believed he could extort $5 million from Letterman by holding the two for 48 hours.

Under an agreement reached with prosecutors in July, Frank pleaded guilty to felony theft for overcharging Letterman for painting and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction for lying to investigators who initially questioned him about the alleged kidnapping plot.

Frank also pleaded guilty to an unrelated felony charge of possessing illegally killed wildlife. In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped charges of solicitation to kidnap.

Besides the 10-year sentence on the theft charge, a judge sentenced Frank to six months for obstruction and five years on the wildlife charge, all to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to pay Letterman’s ranch $1,500 – the overcharges for the painting job – and pay the state $8,000.