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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Oklahoma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Two Local Men Indicted For Carjacking, Obstruction Of Justice, And Discharging A Firearm

Today, United States Attorney Trent Shores announced that a Federal Grand Jury indicted MICHAEL W. NEWLIN, 18, of Owasso, and BRANDON MENDINGHALL, 23, of Stillwater, for their alleged roles in a December carjacking and obstruction of justice that involved evading and shooting at a Tulsa Police Officer.  This indictment is part of the United States Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods national initiative to combat gun violence and violent crime.

“If you commit a federal crime and then shoot at a police officer, you can expect to meet a federal prosecutor in the courtroom,” stated U.S. Attorney Shores.  “We will aggressively pursue violent criminals in our district, especially those who would further imperil the lives of the men and women sworn to protect our community.  I am thankful that the officers made it home safely in this case.”

The Grand Jury alleged the defendants committed the following federal crimes:

  • Count 1:  Conspiracy to Carry, Brandish and Use a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence;
  • Count 2:  Carjacking;
  • Counts 3 and 5:  Carrying, Brandishing, and Using a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence;
  • Count 4:  Obstruction of Justice by Threatening Physical Force Against a Witness;
  • Count 6:  Conspiracy to Obstruct an Officer by Killing a Witness;
  • Count 7:  Obstruction of Justice by Attempting to Kill a Witness; and
  • Count 8:  Carrying, Using, and Discharging a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence.

The Grand Jury alleged the defendants used a firearm to carjack two victims in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to the indictment, the defendants took away the victims’ cellular telephones, stranding the victims on the side of the road. Defendant Newlin allegedly fired shots at a police officer in pursuit as the defendants attempted to evade arrest.

The defendants face the following punishments for each alleged violation of law:

  • Count 1:  Not more than 20 years imprisonment if convicted of Conspiracy to Carry, Brandish and Use a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence;
  • Count 2:  Not more than 15 years imprisonment if convicted of Carjacking;
  • Count 3:  Not less than 7 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment, to run consecutively to any other sentence, if convicted of Carrying, Brandishing, and Using a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence;
  • Count 4:  Not more than 20 years imprisonment if convicted of Obstruction of Justice by Threatening Physical Force Against a Witness;
  • Count 5:  Not less than 25 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment, to run consecutively to any other sentence, if convicted of Carrying, Brandishing, and Using a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence;
  • Count 6:  Not more than 30 years imprisonment if convicted of Conspiracy to Obstruct an Officer by Killing a Witness;
  • Count 7:  Not more than 30 years imprisonment if convicted of Obstruction of Justice by Attempting to Kill a Witness;
  • Count 8:  Not less than 25 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment, to run consecutively to any other sentence, if convicted of Carrying, Brandishing, and Using a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence; and
  • All convictions for the charged offenses carry a fine not to exceed $250,000.

Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan M. Roberts and Christopher J. Nassar are representing the United States in this prosecution. The FBI, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office are the investigative agencies.  The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office is also an important partner in this case as federal and state prosecutors are working jointly through Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is the nationwide federal initiative to disrupt gun violence strategically and comprehensively, using all available enforcement and prosecutive tools.  The initiative involves a partnership of federal, state, and local authorities, uniting their efforts and leveraging existing and new resources at all levels.  Each United States Attorney’s Office will create a specialized unit that tailors its approach to the unique needs of its own district, and targets the most significant gun crime problems within that district to maximize the impact of the initiative and help ensure the safety of the community.  In the coming month, there will be additional information concerning the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in this district.

The return of an indictment is a method of informing a defendant of alleged federal crimes, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law to overcome a defendant’s presumption of innocence.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Ryan Roberts 918-382-2700
Updated March 8, 2018