‘Master manipulator’ gets 25 years in prison for plot to kidnap, win back ex-wife

Credit: File photo

Credit: File photo

36-year-old Canton man pleads guilty to more than a dozen charges

A Cherokee County man who officials called a “master manipulator” has pleaded guilty to multiple charges after he kidnapped his ex-wife while in disguise before pretending to rescue her.

Rodney William Metzer, 36, of Canton, pleaded guilty to 14 charges related to the January attack and was sentenced to 70 years, including 25 years in prison and the following 45 years on probation, according to Cherokee District Attorney Shannon Wallace.

Metzer was accused of kidnapping his ex-wife, assaulting and threatening her with a handgun, then leaving her bound with zip ties with a pillowcase over her head on her back porch in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

Metzer made the call to 911 around 2 a.m., Wallace said in a news release. When deputies arrived, they met him on the front porch of his ex-wife’s home. Metzer told responding officers that he had just arrived and found his ex-wife tied up on the back deck.

“The investigation revealed a different story,” Wallace said.

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Investigators with the Cherokee sheriff’s office found that Metzer had attempted to reconcile with his ex-wife the day prior, which was New Year’s Eve. According to Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ashe, who prosecuted the case, Metzer faked a cancer diagnosis to gain sympathy.

“When that didn’t work, he created a convoluted plan that the investigators in this case and our office truly believe involved a plot to kill her and then himself,” Ashe said. “When he couldn’t go through with that plan, he instead devised a new plan to rescue her.”

The investigation found that Metzer broke into the woman’s home around 12:30 a.m. He attacked her in her bedroom wearing a mask and carrying a handgun, Wallace said. When Metzer spoke to his ex-wife, his voice was disguised.

Metzer hit his ex-wife with the butt of his gun and tried to strangle her twice, Wallace said. Then he zip-tied the woman, put a pillowcase over her head and dragged her out to the deck. Once outside, Metzer told her to lay face down until she heard a car honk and that she would be shot if she moved.

Metzer then went home, changed his clothes, returned to his ex-wife’s house and called 911, Wallace said. The woman had not moved from the back deck.

Investigators later found a handgun and zip ties in Metzer’s car that matched the ones used to restrain his ex-wife. Surveillance video from a Lowe’s store showed Metzer carrying a package of zip ties, while a separate video showed him arriving at his home the night of the kidnapping and leaving minutes later in different clothes. Both videos directly contradicted statements Metzer made to deputies when he was interviewed.

In the course of the investigation, deputies found that Metzer’s search history on his phone and laptop included the following queries: how long before you starve to death, how to change the sound of your voice, and how long it takes to choke someone unconscious.

“I cannot imagine how terrifying this must have been for her,” Wallace said in reference to Metzer’s ex-wife. “This is a classic example of how the most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim is when she decides to leave an abusive relationship.”

Metzer pleaded guilty to 14 counts: kidnapping, home invasion, first-degree burglary, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, three counts of invasion of privacy, sexual battery and battery.

The Cherokee DA’s office asks anyone impacted by domestic violence to contact the Cherokee Family Violence Center online at CFVC.org or by calling the 24/7 crisis hotline at 770-479-1703.