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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


MARCH 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PUBLIC HOUSING SAFETY INITIATIVE


RAYTOWN MAN SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS FOR CRIME SPREE


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Raytown, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his involvement in a two-month crime spree that involved a series of armed robberies, carjackings and firearms violations and ended in a high speed chase and collision.


            Morris Mitchell, 48, of Raytown, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright this morning to 25 years in federal prison without parole.


            On Jan. 5, 2007, Mitchell and co-defendant Ramar D. Brown, 33, of Kansas City, both pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy that involved a series of armed robberies at fast food restaurants, drug stores and other businesses, as well as carjackings and firearms violations, in November and December 2005. Mitchell and Brown would steal or carjack a car to use in the robberies. Brandishing a firearm, one or both of the defendants would enter the business, threaten the clerk and demand money. In many of the robberies, one defendant would act as a look-out and getaway driver for the other.


            Brown was sentenced on June 27, 2007, to 25 years in federal prison without parole.


            Mitchell and Brown fled from police in a high-speed car chase on Dec. 13, 2005, in a car they had stolen at gunpoint earlier that day while the owner was fueling the car at a gas station. Mitchell pulled a gun and pointed it at the driver, telling her, “I’m taking your car,” while Brown pulled a passenger out of the car. Mitchell and Brown used the car to commit seven armed robberies on that day before fleeing from police officers. During that pursuit, Brown pulled the vehicle over, jumped out and fled from police on foot. Mitchell then moved to the driver’s seat and continued to flee from the police in a high-speed car chase. During the car chase, Mitchell ran red lights, drove the wrong way into oncoming traffic, ran stop signs and drove the stolen vehicle off of the roadway. The chase ended in Kansas City, Kan., after Mitchell drove the stolen vehicle the wrong way down 7th Street and collided with another vehicle, causing serious physical injury to the driver of that vehicle.


            On Dec. 15, 2005, Brown resisted arrest by Kansas City police officers when the officers contacted him at the Motel 6, located at 6400 E. 87th St. Brown pointed an R.G. Industries .38-caliber revolver at the officers as they entered the motel room to arrest him. Brown told the officers, “I should have shot you when I had the chance.”


            Mitchell admitted to his role in 14 robberies, two carjackings, brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.


            Brown admitted to his role in 19 robberies, one carjacking, brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Wolesky. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Public Housing Safety Initiative is a partnership that includes the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General.


Public Housing Safety Initiative

The Public Housing Safety Initiative focuses on reducing crime in targeted public housing areas, improving tenant conditions and improving interagency collaboration and communication on quality-of-life issues in public housing areas.

The Public Housing Safety Initiative provides federal funding to train police officers and crime analysts, improve surveillance in public housing areas, increase the number of sweeps conducted in these areas, target criminals residing in public housing areas, increase drug enforcement, improve investigations and coordinate and cooperate with probation and parole efforts. Specifically, a portion of the funding is earmarked for the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Independence, Mo., Police Department. Additionally, the federal initiative funded the hiring of a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to prosecute crimes occurring within federally-assisted housing areas.

 

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html