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Press Release

Knoxville Man Arraigned In Federal Court For Multiple Hobbs Act Robberies And Carjacking

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

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On April 22, 2021, DeShawn Whited, 23, of Knoxville, was arraigned before the Honorable Judge Debra C. Poplin, United States Magistrate Judge, in the Eastern District of Tennessee, for six counts of Hobbs Act Robbery, one count of carjacking, seven counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. Whited was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 17, 2021. Trial has been set for June 29, 2021, before the Honorable Judge Katherin Crytzer, United States District Judge, in the Eastern District of Tennessee.

The indictment alleges that, between December 2, 2020 and January 20, 2021, Whited robbed convenience stores and restaurants across Knoxville. The indictment also alleges that on January 20, 2021, Whited committed a carjacking when he stole a motorist’s car. The indictment alleges that Whited committed these crimes by brandishing a gun and threatening his victims.

If convicted for the Hobbs Act Robberies, the defendant faces up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, a term of supervised release of up to three years, any applicable forfeiture, and a $100 special assessment for each count of robbery. If convicted of the carjacking, the defendants faces up to 15 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, three years of supervised release, and $100 special assessment. If convicted of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of seven years up to life, which must be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for each count of brandishing a firearm. If convicted of felon in possession of a firearm, the defendant faces up to 10 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, three years of supervised release, and $100 special assessment.

The arrangement was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Francis M. Hamilton III.

The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Knoxville Division, the Knoxville Police Department, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney Alan S. Kirk will represent the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces. 

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.



Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated April 23, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime