Fort Deposit carjacking case closed

Published 5:13 pm Monday, June 21, 2010

The final two defendants in last year’s carjacking case in Fort Deposit were sentenced Friday, according to the Department of Justice.

Wayne Ware, 25, and James Steiner, 21, were both convicted on charges of conspiracy, carjacking and discharging a firearm during and in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The final charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.

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Ware and Steiner received 240 months and 195 months respectively, which is in line with the sentencing for co-conspirators Jihad Walker, 20, and Torie Wilson, 23.

Wilson, who was identified by multiple witnesses as the shooter, received 191 months. Walker, whose testimony was that he did not carry a weapon, received a mitigated sentence of 57 months in exchange for his cooperation in prosecuting the other three men.

At the trial, evidence recreated the scene from January 16, 2009. Ware, Steiner, Walker and Wilson followed a white Chevy Impala with four occupants inside from the Chevron station to an isolated county road. After causing the Impala to wreck, the four men exited their vehicle and two of them began firing in the direction of the Impala. The occupants of the vehicle attempted to drive away, but got the vehicle stuck in a ditch. Two victims escaped into the nearby woods, but two of the individuals could not flee and were robbed at gunpoint.

The assailants attempted to flee after the robbery, but their vehicle did not start. While they attempted to push the victim’s vehicle out of the ditch,a passing pickup truck attempted to assist the motorists. The assailants fired shots at the pickup truck, inflicting minor injuries on the driver, but the driver still managed to drive off and notify the police. None of the four teenage victims were physically hurt.

Judge W. Keith Watkins, who presided over sentencing, said that he agreed with the verdict and had found the testimony of the victims to be both “credible and powerful.”

As part of their sentencing, both Ware and Steiner will spend an additional five years on supervised release when their prison terms have been served.