(STL.News) – Courtney Freeman, 31, has pleaded guilty in federal court to armed carjacking and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the guilty plea today.
According to information presented in Court, on September 25, 2018, J.P. was fueling his 2011 GMC Acadia at the Jubilee Express gas station on North Watkins Drive.A young male that J.P. did not know, later identified as the defendant Courtney Freeman, approached J.P.’s vehicle and tapped on the glass. J.P. rolled the window down. Freeman then pointed a handgun at him and said, “get out the car or I’ll blow you away.” J.P. immediately exited the car. Freeman entered the vehicle and drove away. Police later recovered security camera footage from the store, which confirmed the victim’s description.
J.P. ran to his home a few blocks away, called law enforcement, and reported his car stolen. Police responded and he informed them that his cell phone, wallet with credit cards, social security card, $260 in cash and a Ruger .380 pistol were all in the car at the time. Officers put out a stolen vehicle report.
The next day, September 26, 2018, Memphis Police found the stolen car on St. Charles Street. The vehicle was then towed and processed by a crime scene officer. Investigators found 7 pieces of paper with ridge detail, which were then forwarded to latent print examiners, who determined some of the prints belonged to Courtney Freeman.
The victim then identified Courtney Freeman to law enforcement as the person who carjacked him.
Agents with the National Insurance Crime Bureau examined the VIN of the 2011 GMC Acadia and concluded the vehicle was manufactured outside the state of Tennessee.
The defendant pled guilty on September 1, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Mark S. Norris. A sentencing hearing is scheduled on December 9, 2020, where Freeman faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “Forcibly taking an automobile by brandishing a firearm violently victimizes vulnerable citizens, and is only millimeters away from a homicide. This is another instance where brazen behavior yields brutal consequences for both victims and offenders. As long as this indiscriminate and senseless violence rules the streets, we will use federal prison to punish and control these community predators, one by one.”