Wednesday, April 20, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Kansas City, Kan., man who was previously charged with kidnapping and robbing three women was indicted by a federal grand jury today and charged with additional crimes.
Jamerl M. Wortham, 30, of Kansas City, Kan., was charged in a 15-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Wortham on April 11, 2016, and includes 11 additional counts.
The federal indictment retains the original kidnapping charge, but adds an additional kidnapping count and an additional count of conspiracy to kidnap all three victims. Today’s indictment also retains the original complaint’s two counts of possessing a sawed-off shotgun in relation to carjacking and kidnapping but adds three counts of possessing a sawed-off shotgun in furtherance of a crime of violence or a drug-trafficking crime. The indictment retains the original carjacking charge but adds additional charges of an armed robbery conspiracy and attempted armed robbery (related to forcing the victims to withdraw money from ATMs), distributing PCP, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing an unregistered firearm and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Kansas City, Kan., police officers attempted to stop a 2004 silver Jaguar in the area of 3rd and Central on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The Jaguar had been reported as stolen. During the traffic stop the vehicle fled and struck a bridge median. The driver, Wortham, was taken into custody after a foot pursuit. Inside the Jaguar, officers found a loaded sawed-off Coast To Coast Master-Mag 20-gauge shotgun with the serial number filed off.
Also in the vehicle was a woman identified as T.J., who was released from the scene. According to the affidavit, T.J. later arrived at the Central Patrol Division in Kansas City, Mo., to report that she and her roommate, identified as Y.C., were crime victims. She told police that they had been carjacked and that two unidentified men had kidnapped them and forced them to drive around in her roommate’s car, a red 2009 Toyota Camry. She also told police officers there was a third kidnapping victim, identified as M.M. She stated that Y.C. and M.M. were forced to ride with the other two men in Y.C.’s Toyota while T.J. was forced to ride with Wortham in the stolen Jaguar.
T.J. did not mention the kidnapping to police officers at the time of Wortham’s arrest, she said, because Wortham and the other two men had threatened to harm the other girls if anyone spoke to the police. She believed the other two men were watching as Wortham was apprehended and the other two victims’ lives were in danger. T.J. went home after she left the crash scene to check and see if Y.C. was home. When she arrived home and Y.C. was still missing, T.J. contacted the police department to report the carjacking, robbery and kidnapping.
According to the affidavit, T.J. and Y.C. were approached by two unknown men while they were depositing their paychecks at an ATM at about 2 a.m. Saturday, April 9, 2016. One of the men walked up to the driver’s side, grabbed Y.C. and demanded her money. The other man approached the passenger side door and pointed a shotgun at T.J. He forced T.J. into the backseat of the Camry and got into the vehicle. The first man forced Y.C. into the passenger seat as he got into the driver’s seat.
While the second man held the shotgun, the affidavit says, the first man demanded the women’s money, ATM cards and bags. He drove the Camry, with the two women still in the vehicle, to an apartment complex in Kansas City, Kan. They allegedly met Wortham, who was driving the Jaguar he had stolen earlier. Wortham and the third victim, M.M. (who had been in the Jaguar), got into the Camry. They drove to another ATM, the affidavit says, and T.J. and Y.C. were forced to withdraw money using their ATM cards. They drove to a gas station and purchased some drugs, the affidavit says, and made several other stops before eventually returning to the Jaguar.
During the drive, the affidavit says, one of the men forced the victims to smoke PCP as he used methamphetamine. When they reached the apartment complex, T.J. was forced to get into the Jaguar with Wortham, who also took the shotgun. The other two victims remained in the Camry with the other two men. Both vehicles left together. Soon after that, police officers stopped Wortham and arrested him. The other men watched as Wortham was taken into the custody, the affidavit says, and fled in the opposite direction.
According to the affidavit, the two men drove the victims to the Blue Springs, Mo., area, where they again stopped to buy drugs. One of the men was dropped off near a gas station in Kansas City, Kan., and Y.C. was told to get into the driver’s seat and drive to the bus stop. At about 9 a.m. they arrived at 108 Askew Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., where M.M. jumped out of the car and ran away.
After M.M. escaped, the affidavit says, the man told Y.C. to drive away and she did. As they drove away, they began to argue. Y.C. slammed on the brakes and caused the man to hit his face. She attempted to force him out of her car, while at the same time trying to get someone’s attention by hitting the horn with her knee. When that didn’t work, she attempted to run from the car but the man grabbed her by the hair. Once she freed herself from his grip, she ran from the car as he chased her. Y.C. used the keys to set off the vehicle alarm in an attempt to get someone’s attention. She ran several blocks and flagged down a motorist who took her back to her car.
The third victim, M.M., later told police that she was at Harpo’s Bar, 4109 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo., around 11 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2016. She went outside to wait on the curb and got into a car she thought was her Uber car, but actually was the stolen Jaguar driven by Wortham.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the FBI, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri
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