Houston man sentenced in Austin carjacking, shooting

(Texas News Radio) — A Houston man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a carjacking in Austin in 2020.

Federal prosecutors say 24-year-old Darrell Watts responded to a Craigslist ad for a Ford Mustang that had been listed for sale on the website on January 30, 2020.

The owner of the car met Watts at a convenience store in southwest Austin for Watts to look it over.

During a test drive with the owner behind the wheel, Watts pulled out a loaded pistol, pointed it at the car’s owner and threatened to kill him.

Watts forced the owner to hand over his cell phone and wallet — and then instructed him to pull over in an unlit residential area.  He told the owner that he was going to take the car.

As Watts stepped out of the car, the owner — a licensed handgun carrier — pulled out his own pistol from the center console and exited the car.

Watts shot at the man several times, but only grazed him with one round.  The man returned fire, striking Watts six times.  The owner ran off to a nearby house and asked the people living there to call police.

Watts ended up taking the car, but only drove a short distance before abandoning it.  Police arrested him about a week later.

The carjacker was a convicted felon possessing a gun illegally.  He pleaded guilty to a count of carjacking and a count of discharging a firearm during a federal crime of violence in October 2021.

Watts was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison Friday.

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