TAMPA (FOX 13) - Jessica McCoy had a secret, and that secret may have resulted in her assault. Now, the man who beat her and put her in the trunk of her own car is going to jail, but not for the life sentence he could have been given.
"I feel [more] comfortable as Jessica than as Kadarius," McCoy explained in court.
She was born Kadarius Hardrick, a male, but says identifies as a female. So at 13, she changed her name and started presenting herself as a female.
Last year, however, her secret got out and suddenly her life was in danger. Jessica was kidnapped at gunpoint and forced into the trunk of her own car by Ronald Thompson and his two buddies. The trio, prosecutors said, were angry and wanted revenge.
"There was blood coming all over my face and my hand and clothes, and, 'how am I going to get out of this trunk?' That was my main concern," McCoy explained.
She was able to pull the emergency latch in the truck and get away.
In March, the jury convicted Thompson of false imprisonment and aggravated assault.
During his sentencing, Thompson asked the judge for mercy.
"Your honor, I hope you find it in your heart to allow me to be there for my daughters and my family," said Thompson.
The prosecutor reminded the judge, Thompson had already served time in prison for an unrelated crime, but only a month after getting out of prison, he got in trouble again.
"Why didn't that get your attention when you get out of prison?" questioned Judge Michelle Sisco.
However, the deck was stacked against him, the defense pointed out. Thompson was a product of a broken home; a mom addicted to crack and a father behind bars when he was born.
Today, his father is a much different man and the judge urged Thompson to follow in his footsteps.
"That you turn your life around, just like your own father did, and that you use him as a role model going forward," said Judge Sisco.
Sisco sentenced the 21-year-old to 10 years in prison and five years probation. He was facing life in prison.