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Press Release

Court Sentences Armed Carjacker to 10 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Court Applies Youth Rehabilitation Act over Government’s Objection

            WASHINGTON – Gianni Saunders, 21, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced on July 2, 2024, to 10 years of incarceration followed by five years of supervised release by the Honorable Errol Arthur in Superior Court for the District of Columbia, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Chief Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).    

            Saunders was sentenced for the May 24, 2023, armed carjacking of a handyman who was getting out of his car in the 2800 block of Denver Street SE to do a repair job. Saunders received the benefit of the Youth Rehabilitation Act over the government’s objection.

            Armed carjacking carries a mandatory minimum term of 15 years of incarceration. The Youth Rehabilitation Act allows for judges to sentence beneath mandatory minimum terms.

            A jury in the District of Columbia convicted Saunders of armed carjacking, armed robbery, and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence on January 30, 2024.

            According to the government’s evidence, at approximately 1:24 pm on May 24, 2023, the victim pulled up to the 2800 block of Denver Street SE to make repairs inside a residential building when Saunders approached him, armed with a gun with an extended magazine, and demanded the victim’s car keys, which were hung around his neck.  Saunders then drove off in the victim’s black Honda Civic, parking the car outside his residence later that afternoon. 

            Two days later, on May 26, 2023, Maryland police officers attempted to pull over the stolen car, which led to a high-speed pursuit that ended when the defendant crashed the stolen car into five other cars on Oxon Hill Road in Maryland. Saunders was pulled out of the driver’s seat. A search of the car recovered a gun with an extended magazine with the defendant’s DNA on it.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Smith commended the work of the officers of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Carjacking Task Force. Invaluable assistance was provided by the Forest Heights Police Department. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Abu Alawy and Antoinette Sakamsa and Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Renee Prather; Information Technology Specialist William Henderson and Supervisory Information Technology Specialist Stephanie Vice; Supervisory Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared English, who investigated the case.

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Gimenez and Iris McCranie, who investigated and prosecuted the case.


Updated July 3, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-556