AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man who pleaded guilty to a southwest Austin carjacking in 2020 was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison Jan. 14.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Darrell Morgan Watts. Jr., 24, previously convicted of a separate felony, also pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm during a federal violent crime.

Police said on Jan. 30, Watts responded to a Craigslist ad for a Ford Mustang being sold in Austin and went to meet the owner at a convenience store on Cherisse Drive in southwest Austin.

While the owner was taking Watts for a test drive, Watts pulled out a gun, pointed it at the owner and threatened to kill him, according to police. Once Watts forced the owner to hand over their cell phone and wallet, he told the owner to drive into an unlit area, police said.

As Watts got out of the car with the gun still in hand, the owner grabbed a gun out of the center console, and also stepped out. A gunfight ensued and the owner hit Watts six times while getting grazed by just one of Watts’ multiple shots. The owner ran away, police said, and Watts drove off in the Mustang but later abandoned it. He was arrested on Feb. 5, police said. The DOJ pointed out the Mustang’s owner had a state-issued license to carry and a handgun.

Watts entered his guilty pleas on Oct. 22, 2021, the DOJ said.

“Convicted felons who use firearms to commit violent crimes remains at the core of the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ mission,” said Fred Milanowski, the ATF Special Agent in Charge. “These felons pose one of the greatest threats to public safety, and we are relentless in our pursuit to hold them accountable.”

Watts had warrants out of Harris County for theft, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and felony possession of a weapon.