News and Press Releases

Federal Judge Hands Down 33-year and 15-year Prison Sentences for Car-jacking

May 30 , 2012

HUNTSVILLE – A federal judge today sentenced two men to prison for a May 2011 car-jacking in Huntsville, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley announced.

U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced CAMERON RASHUN BYRD, 19, of Birmingham, to 33 years and three months in prison, and ERNEST LASHAWN STARKS, 27, of Huntsville, to 15 years in prison for the armed car-jacking in the parking lot of Liquor Express on Huntsville’s University Drive.

A federal jury in January convicted the two men of car-jacking. The jury also convicted Starks of brandishing a gun during a crime of violence and convicted Byrd on separate counts of brandishing and carrying a firearm.

Evidence presented at trial established that Starks and Byrd car-jacked a victim’s vehicle from the Liquor Express lot on May 11, 2011. Byrd forced the victim to drive the vehicle away while holding a gun to his head from the backseat. Byrd and Starks threatened the life of the victim while brandishing firearms. On the same evening, Starks drove Byrd and others in a different vehicle to the Victory Food Mart on Pulaski Pike in Huntsville, where Byrd used the handgun to commit a robbery by holding the gun to the cashier’s head while he emptied the register.

Thomas Omar Flowers, 19, of Brundidge, who also participated in the car-jacking and the Food Mart robbery, pleaded guilty in January before U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr. All three defendants were arrested on the night of the car-jacking and robbery.

The FBI and the Huntsville Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terence M. O’Rourke and Russell E. Penfield prosecuted the case.






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