FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man today admitted his role in the gunpoint carjacking of an SUV in the city last winter, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jerome Conover, 20, pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count each of conspiracy to commit carjacking; theft of a motor vehicle by force, violence and intimidation; and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The defendant entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Conover conspired with others to carjack vehicles at gunpoint. He admitted that on Jan. 12, 2011, he and his co-conspirators were carrying a loaded 12-gauge shotgun while riding around in a car and decided to steal a Dodge Durango in Newark. They tailgated the Durango, forcing it to pull over, and then used their car to box it in. Conover and the co-conspirators got out of the car and pointed the gun at the driver to force the driver out of the Durango. They took the Durango and a police chase ensued. Conover and the co-conspirators crashed the Durango into multiple vehicles in a Newark intersection.
The conspiracy charge to which Conover pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, the carjacking charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison, and the firearm charge carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years for brandishing the weapon – which would run consecutive to any other prison term. Each of the three counts also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.
Sentencing before Judge Salas is currently scheduled for April 30, 2012. The defendant remains detained pending sentencing.
This case was brought as part of a cooperative effort between federal, state, county and local law enforcement to address a spike in carjacking and related crimes in and around Essex County.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Violent Crimes/Fugitive Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; the Newark Police Department, under the leadership of Director Samuel A. DeMaio and Chief Sheilah A. Coley; and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane H. Yoon of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Anyone who has information which may be relevant to this case is encouraged to contact the Newark Division of the FBI at (973) 792-3000.
Defense counsel: Joseph R. Rubino Esq., West Orange, N.J.