Jefferson County Man Pleads Guilty to Carjacking, Use of a Firearm and Conspiracy to Possess and Distribute Meth
St. Louis, MO –Paris John Earnest Devine, 26, pleaded guilty to three counts – carjacking; brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence; and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine. Devine appeared today before U.S. District Henry Autrey who accepted his plea and set his sentencing date for May 14, 2019.
According to the plea agreement, in the late evening hours of September 28, 2017, J.J. was getting off work as a pizza delivery driver when he drove to a MetroLink station in search of marijuana. After inquiring from several people, Paris Devine and Ramone Thomas, who were strangers to J.J., informed J.J. that they could assist him in procuring marijuana. J.J. invited Devine and Ramone Thomas into his vehicle, a black 2013 Kia Forte, before J.J. drove them around for between 30 and 45 minutes.
After stopping at a gas station in the area of 5415 Virginia Avenue, Devine produced a handgun and demanded that J.J. exit his car and surrender it to Devine and Thomas. J.J. surrendered the Kia Forte and then contacted police. After J.J.’s Kia Forte was recovered, having been used in the herein referenced home invasion, J.J. was shown two photographic lineups containing photographs of Devine and Ramone Thomas. J.J. positively identified both and stated that Devine was the subject who brandished the firearm at him.
In the evening hours of October 10, 2017 and into the early morning hours of October 11, 2017, co-defendant Kathleen Hydar invited co-defendant Courtney Brown and his associates, including defendant Paris Devine, to come from St. Louis City down to Jefferson County, Missouri. Hydar had informed Brown that she knew of a way for them to “make some money” that evening. Brown picked up Hydar in a vehicle being driven by Ramone Thomas. Also in the car were Paris Devine, Raymond Seay, and an unindicted subject.
When Hydar got into the vehicle, she informed Devine and other members of the group that she knew of a location where they could steal large amounts of methamphetamine, United States currency, and firearms. Hydar instructed the driver, Ramone Thomas, to make a stop at another residence prior to going to the aforementioned target location. While at this residence, Hydar described, in detail, where Brown, Devine, Seay, and Ramone Thomas could locate a large amount of methamphetamine, firearms, and currency within a trailer owned by Chad Coffman. After describing where the others could locate these items, Hydar got back into the vehicle and proceeded to direct the driver, Ramone Thomas, to 765 Chancellor Drive, the address of the trailer belonging to Coffman. Hydar also made a phone call to Coffman to ensure he would not be home when the group arrived to burglarize his trailer.
When they arrived at Coffman’s trailer shortly before 4:00am on October 11, 2017, Brown, Devine, Seay, and Thomas then exited the vehicle and kicked in the main door to the trailer and made entry.
Shortly after Seay, Brown, Devine, and Ramone Thomas entered the trailer, Coffman arrived home on his motorcycle and interrupted the burglary. Hydar jumped into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and fled the scene with the unindicted subject in the back seat.
While in the trailer, when Thomas, Seay, Devine, and Brown heard Coffman arrive home, Ramone Thomas passed off a firearm he had brought to the residence to co-defendant Courtney Brown, and they all attempted to flee from the trailer. As Brown exited the residence, he turned the corner, raised the firearm, and discharged it one time, believing he was shooting at Coffman. The projectile struck Ramone Thomas in front of the residence, killing him.
Officers arrived on scene and obtained a search warrant for the trailer. A search of the trailer revealed that Coffman was in possession of what lab analysis confirmed to be approximately five (5) pounds of methamphetamine. Devine was apprehended by investigators in Jefferson County, Missouri, several hours after the burglary.
Chad Coffman pled guilty last year and was sentenced to 96 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
If convicted, the charge of carjacking carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than 15 years and a $250,000 fine; brandishing a firearm carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than life and a $250,000 fine; and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine carries a penalty of imprisonment of note more than life, a $10,000,000 fine. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Major Case Squad and the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office.