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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A South Carolina teenager faces up to 25 years in prison after admitting he posed as Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper and demanded $3 million for her safe return.
Walter Kenneth Holloway, 19, entered his pleas Monday in U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C., to demanding ransom for a kidnapped person and sending threatening e-mails to the missing girl's family.
A sentencing date for Holloway, who also could be fined up to $500,000, was not set.
Holloway, who had nothing to do with the girl's disappearance, was arrested last November by FBI agents while allegedly typing his latest ransom demands by e-mail.
A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted Holloway on Nov. 20 for allegedly sending Salt Lake City police more than three dozen e-mails in which he claimed to be the "only real kidnapper."
He threatened to hurt the girl and demanded, "Tell Ed (Smart, the girl's father) he can have Elizabeth back as soon as I get the ransom," according to court documents.
On June 5, 2002, Elizabeth, then 14, was kidnapped from her bedroom. A nationwide search for the teen followed her abduction.
Elizabeth was found nine months later walking down the street of a Salt Lake City suburb with self-described prophet Brian Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. They have been charged with kidnapping.
Shortly after the arrest of the then-18-year-old Holloway, Ed Smart said, "It makes me sick to think an 18-year-old would destroy his life by doing something like this."
He said it kept authorities from devoting full attention to finding his daughter.
The FBI found Holloway, who was using the screen name "Elizabethsmartkidnapper," by serving his Internet service provider with a subpoena for account information.
Holloway's case is being handled in South Carolina's federal court because he agreed not to fight the charges.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)