Man Wants Sentence Reduced in Carjacking Case | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Man Wants Sentence Reduced in Carjacking Case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to an armed carjacking in central Mississippi has asked a federal judge to throw out part of his 10-year sentence.

Ryan Quincy Pugh, 32, pleaded guilty to two charges in August 2008 related to a carjacking in the Jackson suburb of Byram.

He was sentenced to 37 months for carjacking and 84 months for using a gun during a crime of violence.

The sentences were to run consecutively.

In a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Pugh argues he was only charged with using or carrying a firearm in a crime of violence, that his sentenced was enhanced for "brandishing" the weapon.

He claims he should have been sentenced to five years on that count instead of seven, based on sentencing guidelines.

The indictment says Pugh took the car "by force and violence and by intimidation, that is, while possessing a handgun."

Pugh's argument is that the gun charge in his indictment should have resulted in a sentence of five years under federal sentencing guidelines. Pugh says he was instead sentenced to a mandatory seven years on the gun charge because the judge determined that he had "brandished" the weapon.

Pugh is acting as his own lawyer. He argues that it should have been up to a jury to decide if he "brandished" the gun, not the judge at his sentencing hearing.

He wants the court to throw out his conviction and sentence on that charge and resentence him to the lower term.

Court records say the carjacking happened in April 2008 at the Reserve Apartments in Byram.

The victim told police that he was sitting in his car when a man walked up and asked if he could help jump off another vehicle, the complaint said.

The man said that he agreed to help, but when he got out of his car, the man "produced a pistol, pointed it at his head and demanded his money and car keys."

A few days later, a Ridgeland police officer saw two cars parked off on the side of a frontage road of Interstate 55 and stopped to investigate. A man was standing next a Chevrolet Impala, the same kind of car that was stolen, and the car's license plate was lying on the ground nearby, the complaint said.

The complaint said there were two men, including Pugh, in the other car. The officer found marijuana and two guns in that car, the complaint said, and all three men were arrested.

The complaint said that during questioning, authorities got information that led them to the stolen car at an address in Jackson.

Court records say the carjacking victim picked Pugh out of a photo lineup.

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