Robbery suspect faces kidnapping charges after traffic stop

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DOWNTOWN JACKSON — A man U.S. Marshals had sought in an armed robbery who was arrested earlier this week went before a judge Friday on kidnapping charges. Joseph Woodruff is charged in a May 15 incident in which he is accused of robbing a man at gunpoint in the parking lot of Macedonia Church in Jackson. He was arrested Tuesday after a traffic stop in east Jackson. Police attempted to stop a car for a seat belt violation Tuesday near Paul Coffman Drive and East Chester Street when the driver initially would not pull over, according to court documents. When the car stopped, the driver told officers that Woodruff, who was the backseat passenger, and front-seat passenger Haley Layne Smith told her not to stop for the police, according to an affidavit. The driver’s two children, a 7-month-old and 2-year-old, were in the vehicle at the time, the documents state. The driver said Woodruff threatened to have his family come after her if she pulled over. She also told police Smith used both hands to push her leg down on the accelerator to prevent her from stopping. Officers reportedly smelled what they thought was marijuana in the vehicle and found a plastic bag containing more than five and a half ounces of marijuana under the front passenger seat. Smith was charged after the stop with three counts of kidnapping, reckless endangerment and possession of marijuana with intent. Woodruff initially was charged after the stop with possession of marijuana with intent. He now is charged with three counts of kidnapping and one count of reckless endangerment. He is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

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