Gunmen in January car jacking convicted in federal court

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, November 5, 2009

Two men involved in an armed carjacking of four teenagers in Fort Deposit earlier this year are facing the possibility of 30 years in prison without parole after being found guilty in U.S. District Court in October.

Both Wayne Ware, 25, and James Steiner, 20, were convicted on Oct. 1 of conspiracy to commit carjacking, carjacking, and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The pair faces a maximum prison sentence of five years for conspiracy, 15 for carjacking, and will serve a minimum of 10 years to life for using a firearm to commit a crime, according to Leura G. Canary, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.

Both will be sentenced at a later date.

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“This case was about a violent carjacking in which several innocent victims were terrorized by these defendants,” said Canary. “Their conviction will make our community safer and protect potential victims from further attacks by these individuals.”

Ware and Steiner were two of four men that followed a car of teenagers from a Fort Deposit Chevron convenience store on Jan. 16 and forced it from the road before firing bullets at the victims’ car. Two of the teenagers were able to escape out the back window of the car and into the woods, said Canary, and the four gunmen robbed the two remaining victims.

A driver stopping to assist with what he thought was a traffic accident had his automobile pelted with gunfire from the four men, said Canary, and bullets caused his front windshield to shatter, flying glass injuring his eyes, face, and hands.

When their own vehicle would not start, the four men stole the victims’ car, abandoning it sometime later in Fort Deposit, said investigators.

Also charged in the case was Jihad Walker, 19, who pled guilty in federal court in September to carjacking, said Canary, and is awaiting sentencing.

Canary said another one of the alleged assailants, Torie Wilson, 23, has been indicted on federal charges for the crime and is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 7.