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Press Release

Detroit Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Carjacking and Firearms Violations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – Johnnie Watkins, 32, of Detroit, MI, was sentenced in federal court yesterday on charges of carjacking and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced. Watkins was sentenced by United States District Judge Paul D. Borman to more than ten years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Ison was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

“We are committed to bringing the full weight of the justice system to bear on individuals who terrorize citizens going about their daily lives, stated U.S. Attorney Ison.

According to court records, during the evening hours of November 9, 2019, Watkins – armed with a loaded firearm - approached a man sitting in his car near the area of Wayne State University and verbally threatened to kill him.  Watkins then proceeded to rob the victim of his personal belongings, including his cell phone, wallet, coat, and car keys.  The victim, fearing for his life, exited his vehicle at which time Watkins entered the vehicle and drove off.  Police were notified of the armed carjacking and within 20 minutes located Watkins driving the stolen vehicle. After seeing the police, Watkins accelerated, lost control of the vehicle and crashed.  The impact was so violent that both airbags deployed.  Watkins then ran on foot and was later found hiding in a building not far from the crash scene.

The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and officers with the Detroit Police Department and Wayne State University Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeanine Brunson and Michael Taylor.

Updated August 19, 2022

Violent Crime