Violent Bucktown carjacking suspects appear in federal court for first time

Three men who were allegedly caught on video committing an armed carjacking in Bucktown last summer made their first appearance in a federal courtroom Tuesday.

Security cameras in a Bucktown alley last July captured a terrifying sight: three men with guns, jumping out of a silver Prius, carjacking a Range Rover and driving off. The carjacking victims were a pregnant woman and her husband. 

Using GPS, police tracked the Range Rover and arrested three suspects, Tyrah Carter, Dwayne Liberty, and Terronde Gordon. Adam Sheppard represents Gordon.

“He's very polite,” said Sheppard. “He's been cooperative in all manners, and we're hopeful to extricate him from the charges as soon as possible.” 

Until Tuesday, the three men were held at the county jail on state charges. However, they're now in federal custody, facing federal charges for a violent carjacking. 

It's part of a strategy that began one year ago when a dramatic increase in carjackings citywide led to a joint city, county and federal task force to combat the problem. 

Sheppard says that ironically, according to his calculation, the federal charges carry a potentially lighter sentence than the state charges.

“The charges don’t carry a mandamus minimum here in federal court, they carry a maximum of 15 years, so in that way, unlike in some of the charges, which are non-probationable in state court, it could have an advantage,” said Sheppard. 

However, federal involvement adds lots of resources to carjacking investigations. It’s also harder for suspects to bond out of federal court while awaiting trial. 

There’s evidence the task force is working as carjackings for the first two months of this year are down 44 percent over the same period last year.