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Grand jury gets carjacking case

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A Spotsylvania County grand jury will hear the case against a man accused of a stealing a car and dragging the vehicle’s owner and a store clerk through a convenience store parking lot last summer.

Estes Jennings IV, 42, of Spotsylvania is charged with carjacking and wearing a mask in public around 3:40 a.m. on Aug. 2 at the 7–Eleven store on Lafayette Boulevard.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, the vehicle’s owner described how she got into her Jeep Cherokee early that morning when a person wearing a skeleton mask entered her SUV from the passenger side.

“Then he pulled a knife to my stomach and told me to put the car in reverse and to drive,” she told Judge Ricardo Rigual.

She said she never looked at his face, so she wasn’t able to positively identify him.

A store clerk who was working that morning testified that Jennings was the person that took the car because moments earlier he had come in the store asking people for cigarettes.

The clerk also described how he heard the woman scream that someone was trying to take her car.

He testified that he ran out of the store and reached through the driver’s side window to try to take the keys out of the ignition with the woman still sitting in the driver’s seat.

He said Jennings wouldn’t let go and kept pressing his foot on the gas to the point that the store clerk and the woman were dragged as they attempted to get out.

“We were trying to get him out of the car,” the clerk said. “But he was so determined to get it, we gave up the struggle.”

The man then moved over into the driver’s seat and pulled out of the store parking lot.

The vehicle was found a short time later, but the victim’s purse was missing.

Jennings, known on the streets as “Doughboy,” was later identified as a suspect in the carjacking and police listed him as armed and dangerous in a wanted poster.

He was arrested on Nov. 14 and sent to Rappahannock Regional Jail.

At the time of the carjacking, Jennings had just been released from jail after serving a six-month sentence he received in February for a probation violation in Stafford County.

He had previously served seven years in prison after being convicted of robberies in Fredericksburg and Stafford in 2001, court records show.

The Stafford robbery occurred at a Food Lion in southern Stafford where Jennings used to work. Employees recognized him as the robber.

The Spotsylvania grand jury will meet Feb. 18 to consider the latest charges.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419