Career Criminal Receives 35-year Sentence

For Immediate Release
January 21, 2010
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that John Henry Fortenberry was sentenced, through a plea agreement, to 25 years in prison for armed robbery and 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The sentences will run consecutively, but the sentence for the possession of the firearm will be suspended. He has to serve every day of his sentence imposed in the armed robbery. Upon release, he will be required to have supervision for five years for possession of a firearm by convicted felon.

Guest stated, “Fortenberry is a career criminal that has previously been convicted of robbery, armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of cocaine, and receiving stolen property. Fortenberry has been in and of prison his entire adult life and he should have never been out on our streets with his criminal record. Hopefully this sentence will assure that he stays behind bars for the next 25 years.”

Guest added, “My office will continue to work with law enforcement to make sure that violent offenders like Fortenberry are arrested and prosecuted.”

On March 21, 2009, Fortenberry went to the Red Roof Inn in Ridgeland. When he arrived, he knocked on the door of one of the rooms and when the victim answered he asked to borrow a cigarette. He then forced his way into the hotel room and grabbed the occupant’s cell phone. Fortenberry then displayed a gun and stole the occupant’s bag which contained his wallet, money and other personal belongings.

The victim immediately called the Ridgeland Police Department and told them he had been robbed, giving them a description of Fortenberry and of the car.

Minutes later, a Ridgeland Police officer located the car and pulled it over. As the officer approached the vehicle he observed that Fortenberry was sitting in the back of the vehicle and he was attempting to hide a firearm. Fortenberry was arrested and officers located the victim’s bag and cell phone.

The victim was able to identify Fortenberry as the person who robbed him at gunpoint.

Guest concluded, “The Ridgeland Police Department did an outstanding job removing a dangerous felon from our streets. There quick response has saved others from becoming victims at the hands of Fortenberry. I commend them for a job well done.”

Fortenberry has been convicted for receiving stolen property in May 2007 in Madison County and was sentenced to six years in prison. He has been convicted of Possession of Cocaine and Armed Robbery in Hinds County in 1991. And he has also been convicted of robbery and aggravated assault in Lawrence County in 1999.