A frustrated federal judge handed a decade-long prison sentence Monday to a man who in 2018 stuck a gun in the face of a woman who turned out to be an off-duty Chicago police detective before he and four others stole her car.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly said he’d consider the crime committed by Jamar Jarvis and others “horrific” even if Chicago wasn’t experiencing an “epidemic” of carjackings. While a “jittery” Jarvis had a gun pointed toward the woman’s head, prosecutors said, another person took her car keys and asked her, “How does it feel knowing you’re going to die tonight?”
“I can’t even imagine what that had to feel like,” Kennelly said.
Still, following the group’s federal indictment, the judge said he gave Jarvis and his co-defendants a chance to show they had the ability to change by granting them release on conditions pending trial. He said his hopes were “dashed” by Jarvis and the others, and he said Monday he felt “borderline despondent” over the group’s numerous bond violations.
“I’ve never seen a case with people who were so unwilling to do even the smallest thing to try to comply with the law,” Kennelly said. “And it’s not just Mr. Jarvis.”
Prosecutors called Jarvis, 21, the most culpable of the five people who carjacked the off-duty detective on Oct. 18, 2018. Raynell Lanford, 21, and Jamaal Ashsaheed, 22, pleaded guilty last year to carjacking and carrying a gun during a crime of violence. Kennelly sentenced Lanford to about 10 years in prison and Ashsaheed to nine years.
Jarvis was convicted of the same crimes at trial in September, records show.
Javion Bush, 22, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact, and Kennelly gave him 15 months. The fifth individual was prosecuted in juvenile court.
Jarvis’ defense attorneys asked the judge to give him a mandatory-minimum seven-year sentence. They pointed to his tumultuous childhood and noted he’d been the victim of two drive-by shootings. During the first, when he was 15, he was shot six times, they said.
Before Kennelly handed him his 10-year sentence, Jarvis told the judge he was “sorry for what the victim went through.” Jarvis said he “didn’t get the love and the support” he needed while growing up, so he “went to the streets to find it.”
Prosecutors say Jarvis and the others confronted the off-duty detective a little past midnight as she approached the locked rear gate of her home after she parked her black 2006 Lexus in her garage in an alley off West Ardmore on the North Side.
Seeing the gun, hearing the threat and believing she was in real danger, prosecutors said the woman shoved Jarvis, ducked around his hip and ran down the alley screaming “911! Help!” She then called 911 after hearing the sound of her garage door opening and her car scraping or crashing into something, records show.
The group took the car to the South Side, but it ran out of gas, prosecutors said. So the crew could then be seen on surveillance video casually buying a gas can to fill up, they said.
Later, law enforcement noticed the car as it was being driven south on Lake Shore Drive at Cermak. Officers followed as the driver exited Lake Shore and made a left on Woodlawn, but the driver wound up speeding away before stopping near 57th and Lake Shore, records show.
All of the car’s occupants jumped out and tried to run away, but they were ultimately captured, according to prosecutors. Jarvis, Ashsaheed and the juvenile were found hiding under cars. Bush and Lanford were found on rocks near Lake Michigan.
The feds say Jarvis’ DNA was found on a cigarette butt in the stolen vehicle. The victim’s casino card was also found near the car Jarvis had been hiding under, records show. Finally, the victim identified Jarvis as the man who pointed the gun at her head.