KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) – Two Kansas City, Kansas men have been convicted at trial by a federal jury of 17 counts contained in a Dec. 13, 2016, federal indictment.
Jamerl M. Wortham, 33, and Anthony B. Williams, 36, were each found guilty on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, of one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, three counts of kidnapping, one count of carjacking, one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery, one count of distribution of phencyclidine (PCP), six counts of possession of a short-barreled shotgun in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, one count of being felons in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun, and one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
During the early morning hours of April 9, 2016, the defendants, along with another man, stole a Jaguar vehicle in Kansas City, Kansas, then set off to Kansas City, Missouri, with a plan to rob people at ATM machines. While driving around the Westport entertainment district, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the men came across M.M., a woman who was waiting to be picked up by an Uber car. One of the defendants stepped out of the stolen Jaguar, put his arm around M.M., and corralled her into the vehicle.
From there, the defendants proceeded north toward a set of ATMs located in the River Market neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. There, they waited until a red Toyota Camry pulled up to use the ATM at approximately 2:00 a.m. The defendants drove up behind the Camry where two women, T.J. and Y.C., were attempting to deposit money into the ATM. One of the defendants and another man approached the Camry, pointed a loaded sawed-off shotgun at the driver and passenger, demanded money, then forced them in the backseat of the Camry. The two men then got in the driver and passenger seats of the vehicle and sped away towards Kansas City, Kansas, with the stolen Jaguar containing M.M. following close behind.
Once in Kansas City, Kansas, the defendants forced all of the victims into the Camry. From there, the defendants took the victims to another ATM in Kansas City, Kansas, and told them to withdraw as much money as they could from their bank accounts. After leaving the ATM, the defendants forced M.M. and Y.C. to smoke phencyclidine (PCP), while they drove for hours around the Kansas City metro area. During the entirety of this time, the victims were consistently threatened with death and bodily harm while the defendants pointed the sawed-off shotgun in the victims’ direction. Williams also indicated he was armed with a handgun during this time.
At around 5:00 a.m. the defendants split the victims up into two separate cars – with Wortham in the stolen Jaguar with T.J., and Williams in the stolen Camry with M.M. and Y.C. While they caravanned through Kansas City, Kansas, police officers recognized the stolen Jaguar and engaged it in pursuit. The Jaguar fled at a high rate of speed, lost control, then crashed with T.J. in the passenger seat of the vehicle. After the crash, Wortham fled from the vehicle on foot but was apprehended shortly after and placed under arrest. T.J. was unhurt in the crash. Discovered inside of the vehicle was a loaded Coast to Coast, Master Mag, Model CC660, 20-gauge shotgun that had approximately 12-inches of the barrel sawed off, along with the shotgun stock shortened.
In the stolen Camry, Williams and another man drove M.M. and Y.C. throughout the Kansas City metro area in search of drugs and a house to use. At approximately 8:00 a.m., the other man was dropped off at an unknown location. With only Williams in the vehicle, M.M. found an opportunity to jump out of the Camry at a stop sign, run into a convenience store, and call the police. Soon after, Y.C. also attempted to escape the vehicle, but had to fight Williams to get out of his grasp. Once out of his grasp, Y.C. ran down a residential street, with Williams chasing behind. She used the panic button on her key fob to set off her car alarm, which stopped Williams from pursuing. Y.C. ran for at least three blocks, found a good Samaritan, then called the police.
Investigation of these crimes, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department involved numerous witness interviews, review of surveillance video, and analysis of forensic evidence.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for less than two hours on Thursday, February 14, 2019, before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes, ending a trial that began Monday afternoon, February 11, 2019.
Under federal statutes, Wortham is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Williams is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of life in federal prison without parole based on prior convictions.
The minimum and maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of each defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Q. McCarther and Alison D. Dunning. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.