A man who shot a 53-year-old woman in the face during a carjacking was sentenced to 50 years in prison by a federal judge in Milwaukee on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa exceeded both the defense's and prosecutor's recommendations in handing down the five-decade sentence to Grover Ferguson, 18. The government asked for 20 years; Ferguson's attorney suggested 15.
Ferguson, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, was convicted of carjacking and of firing a gun during a felony. The case had the potential of life in prison.
Ferguson is among a small but growing number of juvenile defendants charged in federal court to address the surge in violent crime in Milwaukee.
His attorney, federal defender Daniel Stiller, said he will appeal. Stiller said it was the longest sentence he has had one of his clients receive in 20 years of defense work in federal court.
"While I respect Judge Randa's exercise of discretion, I disagree with it and we'll ask the court of appeals to review the process by which he got to this sentence as well as the substance of it," he said.
The shooting and carjacking occurred about 8:15 p.m. April 21. Milwaukee police had been called to check on reports of a stolen Dodge Caravan.
While inside a parked squad car, officers heard four to five gunshots and screaming. They found the wounded woman bleeding from her face. She was shot three times.
The woman told police she was getting in her SUV when she saw a man, whom she identified as Ferguson in a photo array, open her passenger door and point a gun at her, according to the complaint.
He demanded her keys. She paused, believing he was joking. He demanded the keys again, and the woman told police she feared for her life and put the keys on the seat. That's when the man began firing, she said.
The woman remembered stepping out of the driver's door and falling to the ground before crawling to the curb to avoid being run over by her own car. Five hours after the carjacking, officers found the stolen SUV parked in front of a house in the 2300 block of N. 40th St.
Investigators kept up surveillance on the SUV until 11 a.m. April 22, when they saw Ferguson come out of the house and get in the vehicle. Officers attempted a traffic stop, but Ferguson fled, reaching speeds up to about 70 mph and ignoring five stop signs and one red traffic light, according to a state criminal complaint.
Ferguson lost control of the SUV and ended up in the front yard of a house in the 3200 block of N. 39th St. He ran, but officers caught up with him around the corner of the house and saw he had a gun.
Police ordered him to drop it. Ferguson was arrested, and police recovered a loaded revolver next to him.
Ferguson was found delinquent in juvenile court of felony armed robbery in 2010.
Source: Journal Sentinel