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Man Pleads Guilty to Carjacking

Apparently, James Eric Garnett is not one to be put off by failure. But in his case, persistence led to the successful completion of a crime — and, soon afterward — to the inside of a jail cell.

And now, after pleading guilty in court Monday to two carjacking charges, he's facing a possible 15 years or more in prison. He will be sentenced in February.

It all began June 7, around 6:15 p.m., at the Mobil gas station at 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, off Willard Road, near the Dulles Expo Center. That's when Garnett, 34, of no fixed address, tried to rob a 29-year-old woman there and carjack her vehicle. But she was able to drive off and prevent it from happening.

However, determined not to leave empty-handed, Garnett then approached a 35-year-old woman at the gas pumps and, this time, he was able to get inside her car and drive away. But he didn't get far. Instead, he drove the victim's vehicle to a construction site near the expo center and went smack into a wall.

He then left the car and fled on foot, a short distance, before police closed in and apprehended him. An officer en route to the gas station saw Garnett running from the scene and pursued him. Garnett was then taken to the Adult Detention Center and charged with carjacking and attempted carjacking.

Following his indictment by the grand jury, Aug. 19, he was scheduled to have a jury trial, Monday, Oct. 28, in Circuit Court. But he changed his mind and decided instead to plead guilty to both charges.

Before accepting his pleas, Monday morning, Judge Stanley Klein made sure that Garnett was pleading guilty of his own, free will and because he was, indeed, guilty. He also apprised him of how much time in prison he could receive. Klein then set his sentencing for Feb. 21.