News and Press Releases

North Carolina Man Sentenced to Ten Years' Imprisonment
For Discharging a Firearm During Attempted Kidnapping

October 14, 2011

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo sentenced Ernest Lamont Parker, age 34, of Durham, North Carolina today to ten years' imprisonment for discharging a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime; attempted kidnapping.

     United States Attorney Peter J. Smith noted that the case arose when Parker and co-defendants, April Rene Pleasants and Demario Antuan White drove from North Carolina to Scranton, Pennsylvania, in order to assault and kidnap Pleasants' cousin in an effort to retrieve drug trafficking proceeds that Pleasants' cousin had allegedly stolen from Parker.

     On June 7, 2009, the Scranton Police Department were dispatched to Washburn Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania responding to a call of a shooting. When Officers arrived on the scene, they discovered that a victim, who was Pleasants' cousin, had suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, and that the suspects had fled in a silver Hyundai. Three witnesses observed the shooting and followed the Hyundai, which was occupied by the three individuals involved in the shooting. They explained that while seated in a car, Pleasants had attempted to use a stun gun on the victim, and that two others carrying handguns ran up to the car and punched the victim while trying to tie his hands. During the struggle gunshots were fired striking the victim and one of the assailants. The witnesses also alerted Scranton Police Officers to direction the Hyundai was traveling, and those Officers became involved in a pursuit.

     Minutes later, the officers were notified the subjects' silver Hyundai was observed in the parking lot of a restaurant on Keyser Avenue, Scranton, and the officers converged on the area. Demario Antuan White was taken into custody at gunpoint inside a Keyser Avenue restaurant. He had a gunshot wound to the leg. Witnesses at the scene notified officers that Pleasants and Parker had been inside one of the restaurants but left when they heard police sirens. They were apprehended in the vicinity.

     Following their indictment on federal attempted kidnapping charges and use of firearms in relation to that crime, April Rene Pleasant, Demario Antuan White and Ernest Lamont Parker all pleaded guilty in federal court.

     Both White and Pleasants were sentenced to a ten-year prison term.

     The case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officers of the Scranton Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney John Gurganus prosecuted the case.

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