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Press Release

Panama City Man Convicted of Carjacking and Discharging a Firearm in Dothan, Alabama

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama

            MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA – Today, a federal jury in Dothan, Alabama, convicted Steven John Smalley, 50, from Panama City, Florida, of carjacking and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.

            According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on September 14, 2021, Smalley drove to a gas station on Ross Clark Circle in Dothan and pulled behind another vehicle parked at a gas pump. There was no one in the parked vehicle at the time. Smalley got out of his car and looked into the parked vehicle, then walked toward the gas station’s front door. Video footage from the station showed that Smalley engaged in a conversation with the driver of the parked vehicle and eventually pulled a handgun out of his pocket and demanded the driver give him the keys to the car. The driver refused and Smalley unsuccessfully attempted to grab the keys from the driver’s hand several times. Smalley then pointed the firearm at the driver and asked him, “Do you want to die today?” Eventually, Smalley fired a round from the firearm in the direction of the driver, narrowly missing him. The driver then placed the keys on a trash can, Smalley took them, and drove away in the stolen car. The Dothan Police Department quickly responded and arrested Smalley within walking distance of the gas station.   

            Following the guilty verdict, Smalley faces a sentence of ten years to life in federal prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for Smalley in the coming months.

            The Dothan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Justin L. Jones and Joel Feil are prosecuting the case.

Updated July 13, 2023

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