FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man was sentenced today to 262 months in prison for his role in carjacking a Lincoln Continental at gunpoint in the city last year, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jahlil Thomas, 23, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas 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. Judge Salas imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Thomas admitted that, on January 12, 2011, he conspired with others to carjack vehicles at gunpoint. He was carrying a loaded 12-gauge shotgun when he and a co-conspirator decided to take a Lincoln Continental in Newark. The two men walked up to the owner of the Lincoln, who had parked in owner’s driveway. Thomas pointed a loaded shotgun at the victim, forcing the victim out of the car, and the two men drove off in the Lincoln. They began tailgating a Dodge Durango and forced it to pull over. Two men got out of the car and took the Durango at gunpoint. Jerome Conover, 21, of Newark, has been charged in a related case and admitted to conspiracy and to carjacking the Durango at gunpoint.
A police chase ensued, with the Durango traveling at a high rate of speed. The Durango caused a multiple-car crash in a Newark intersection. Police saw Thomas exit the vehicle and drop the shotgun. After a brief foot chase, he was arrested by the Newark Police Department.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Salas sentenced Thomas to five years of supervised release and fined him $600.
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 leading to today’s sentence.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane H. Yoon of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Candace Hom Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark