AUSTIN, Texas - A Houston man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in connection with a carjacking in Southwest Austin in 2020.
24-year-old Darrell Morgan Watts Jr. pled guilty to one count of carjacking and one count of discharging a firearm during a federal crime of violence in October 2021, says the US Attorney's Office.
According to court documents, Watts responded to an ad for a Ford Mustang for sale on Craigslist and expressed an interest in buying the car in January 2020. The owner met Watts at a convenience store in southwest Austin so he could view it.
Watts then pulled out a loaded pistol, pointed it at the owner and threatened to kill him, despite being a convicted felon and possessing the gun illegally, court documents say. Watts forced the owner to hand over his cell phone and wallet, then instructed him to pull over in an unlit residential area, telling him he was going to take the car.
Watts stepped out of the vehicle, still armed with the pistol. The owner of the Mustang, who was licensed to carry a handgun, retrieved his own pistol from the center console and then stepped out, court documents say. Watts fired multiple shots at him, grazing him with only one round. The owner of the Mustang fired multiple shots at Watts, striking him six times.
The owner then fled the area on foot and asked nearby residents to call police, court documents say. Watts managed to return to the vehicle and drove a short distance before abandoning it. He was apprehended in February 2020 and has remained in custody since his arrest.