ST. LOUIS, MO – United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry sentenced Jana Stowers to 180 years in prison today. The 22-year-old East St. Louis, Illinois resident pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting carjacking resulting in the death of Michael Arnold. Judge Perry sentenced Curtis Alford, Stowers’ co-defendant, to 20 years in prison last week.
On June 16, 2018, Stowers and Alford rushed up to two victims putting money in a parking meter. The victims were in St. Louis attending the ‘Taste of St. Louis’ event downtown. Alford sprayed the victims with pepper spray as he tried to grab their truck keys. Stowers supplied Alford with the pepper spray. While Alford struggled with both victims, he grabbed one by the hair and neck, pulling her to the sidewalk. Alford then pulled the keys from her belt loop and got in her truck. One of the victims then attempted to stop Alford as he started the engine. He shoved her out of the way and began to pull away from the curb.
Michael Arnold, who witnessed the carjacking, was in the street near the truck and taking a picture of the incident. As Alford pulled away, Arnold tried moving out of the way, but Alford drove over him, pinning Mr. Arnold under the truck. Alford then dragged Mr. Arnold across the street, jumped the curb, hit another victim who had been walking on the sidewalk, struck a fire hydrant and then sped off. Alford picked up Stowers around the corner and continued to speed away. As a group of pedestrians and two police officers gathered near the corner of Seventh Street and Chestnut, Alford sped in their direction, eventually crashing the truck. The officers and pedestrians had to scatter to avoid being hit. Officers immediately arrested Alford and Stowers. Mr. Arnold suffered multiple, severe internal injuries and died days later of these injuries. The other victims were treated at the scene for their injuries.
“Whenever we can find a federal violation, all participants in violent crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Jeff Jensen, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Paul D’Agrosa is handling the case.