KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On January 18, 2023, a federal jury convicted DeShawn Whited, 25, of Knoxville, Tennessee, of four counts of Hobbs Act Robbery, one count of Attempted Hobbs Act Robbery, one count of carjacking, four counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of felon in possession of a firearm, following a four-day trial. The Honorable Katherine A. Crytzer, United States District Judge, presided over the trial. Whited faces a sentence of over 100 years in prison.
The armed robberies and the armed carjacking all occurred in Knoxville between January 12th, 2021, and January 20th, 2021. The evidence presented at trial included witness testimony, surveillance footage from multiple businesses across the Knoxville area, and physical, forensic and digital evidence, including items of clothing, firearms, cell phone information, and DNA.
“This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s comprehensive strategy to reduce violence and increase safety in our community by aggressively prosecuting criminals who engage in violent crime,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.
“The collaborative effort between the FBI and the Knoxville Police Department ensured this defendant was brought to justice and will no longer be able to threaten or harm the citizens and businesses in our community. We will continue to aggressively seek out those who prey upon innocent victims and hold them accountable,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico.
“Preventing violent crime and addressing it after it occurs will always be the top priority of the Knoxville Police Department. I am proud of the many members of our department who were involved in this investigation from the beginning and helped see it through to this conclusion. Their efforts and contributions ensured the removal of a violent individual from the streets of Knoxville,” said Chief Paul Noel, Knoxville Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alan S. Kirk and Brent N. Jones represented the United States at trial.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation and prosecution of Whited include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Streets Task Force and the Knoxville Police Department’s Violent Crime Unit and Organized Crime Unit, as well as Knoxville Police Department Patrol Officers and Forensic Crime Scene Technicians.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.