Booker Sterling (Jail photo)
WACO (August 2, 2012)—A Waco jury convicted Booker Sterling, 25, of theft over $1,500 but under $20,000 with a deadly weapon finding Thursday in a foiled carjacking in October 2011 in downtown Waco.
He was on trial for aggravated robbery, but jurors opted to convict him of the lesser offense.
Sterling also pleaded guilty Thursday in an unrelated aggravated sexual assault case and agreed to a 20-year prison term, prosecutors said.
He’ll have to serve half of the sentence before he’s eligible for parole, prosecutors said.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for the jury's verdict and the work they put into this case. Also, we are very pleased that we were able to take this criminal off our streets for a long period of time,” McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said Thursday.
Sterling was one of two men arrested after a man wearing a Halloween mask got into a woman's vehicle in downtown Waco and forced her at gunpoint to drive away.
Police said that the woman targeted in the carjacking had driven to Waco to deposit cash from a business in Bellmead and that the two men spotted the cash and followed her.
The hijackers, who were driving a Chevrolet Caprice, used the car to ram the victim’s Chevrolet Suburban from behind.
When the victim got out to check the damage, the masked man approached her, forced her back into the Suburban, got into the rear seat and ordered her to drive toward East Waco, police said.
A witness to the robbery, who was not identified, provided police with an accurate description of the vehicles involved and then followed as the victim drove east on Franklin in the hijacked Suburban with the Caprice behind it.
Officers and sheriff’s deputies quickly fanned out in the area and in the 500 block of Taylor Street, the would-be carjacker ordered the victim to stop, jumped out of the Suburban and ran.
Police quickly fanned out in the area and arrested two men, one of whom matched the description of the carjacker.
Officers found one man hiding inside a dumpster in an adjacent alley and caught the other on foot on the street.
The cash the woman planned to deposit was found in the backseat of the Suburban.