Two of the five men who carried out a series of carjackings and other violent crimes in the downtown Chattanooga area in 2010 will spend decades in prison as a result, a federal judge said Friday morning.
"You affected (your victims) for the rest of their lives, and the sentences you are going to receive are going to affect you for the rest of your lives." U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier told Jeffrey McClendon and Christopher Turner minutes before announcing their sentences.
The judge sentenced McClendon to five years more than the 32-year minimum mandatory, noting that his criminal history dates to when he was just 12 years old, and that he was first ajudicated unruly when he was 15.
McClendon even assaulted his own mother, the judge noted, because "she had rules, she wanted him to be home because she knows what goes on out on the streets."
His drug history also dates to his early teens, Judge Collier said, and at the time of his arrest it was his practice to use marijuana everyday and cocaine three times a week.
Turner, on the other hand, is "very, very different" from McClendon and does not have a lengthy criminal history, the judge noted.
The pair were involved in two incidents in which victims were picked up downtown, placed in car trunks and driven around for hours.
On Aug. 26, 2010, around midnight, an employee at Buffalo Wild Wings on Market Street was going to his car in a nearby parking lot when McClendon, Turner and a juvenile began to run after him. He dropped to the ground and the trio took his car keys and cellphone. He was hit in the head with a gun.
They forced him into the trunk of his car and drove around with him in there for 11 hours. During that time they went to his house and stole a number of items. They called friends to help them pawn the stolen items. They eventually left the victim and the car and he was able to get out of the trunk
On Aug. 28, 2010, McClendon, Turner and the juvenile approached a man on High Street near the Hunter Museum. They assaulted him at gunpoint and put him in the trunk of his car. The victim managed to pop the trunk and jump out as the car was moving. The three carjackers went to his home to rob it. They kicked in the wrong door at the triplex and beat and robbed the residents.
Police were able to use video footage from the pawn shop where some of the items were taken to identify at least one of the friends. That eventually led police to McClendon, Turner and the other three.