Submitted: February 16, 2018
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Missouri - Jefferson City.
LOKEN, BENTON, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
ERICKSON, Circuit Judge.
October 11, 2016, Bruce Wayne Stephens was charged in a
single-count indictment with obstruction of justice for
threatening to retaliate in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1513(b)(1). Stephens proceeded to a jury trial and was
convicted. At the sentencing hearing he was found by the
district court to be at offense level 24, criminal history
category IV, with a guideline range of 77-96 months. Stephens
was sentenced to ninety-six months' imprisonment to be
followed by three years of supervised release. Stephens
contends on appeal that: (1) the district court impermissibly
amended the indictment through its verdict director; and (2)
the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction. We
have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.
Stephens's son, Malcolm Redmon, faced nineteen felony
counts in a multi-defendant drug trafficking conspiracy
indictment filed in the Western District of Missouri. The
case against Redmon was based in part on the testimony of
cooperating co-conspirators. As part of a plea bargain,
Redmon pled guilty to Count One of the Superseding
Indictment, which charged him with Conspiracy to Distribute
and Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine.
number of Redmon's co-defendants also pled guilty to
various charges and were set for sentencing hearings at the
U.S. Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri, on September 29,
2016. Redmon's hearing was set for 2:00 p.m. Earlier that
day a cooperating co-defendant who had provided information
about Redmon was sentenced. The co-defendant appeared along
with his counsel, a CJA panel lawyer named Brian Risley.
Risley arrived to the courtroom before his client's
sentencing hearing, several persons asked him whom he
represented. When Risley named his client, Stephens
repeatedly told him, "Snitches belong in ditches."
During the hearing, Risley argued his client was entitled to
sentencing mitigation due to his cooperation. When the
hearing concluded, Stephens acted disruptively and told
Risley, "I am gonna whip your ass." Two Court
Security Officers (CSOs) escorted Stephens out of the
building. Stephens told the CSOs, "I hope you die and I
hope your whole family dies."
minutes later, Risley left the courthouse. Risley was
accosted by Stephens on the street. Stephens told Risley,
"Snitches, you a mother fucking snitch. Fuck you. I will
kill you, kill your wife, kill your family." Risley
drove away and reported the threat. Stephens was taken into
custody, was informed of his Miranda rights, and
voluntarily made a videotaped statement in which he admitted
to making a threatening statement to Risley.
was indicted in a single-count indictment with obstruction of
justice for threatening to retaliate in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1513(b)(1). The text of the indictment
referenced "an official proceeding, that is, the
investigation and prosecution of Malcolm Desean Redmon in
Case No. 14-04065-02-CR-C-SRB." The "-02" in
the case number is the defendant identifier identifying
Malcolm Desean Redmon.
case was tried to a jury. Final Jury Instruction No. 20 was
the verdict director setting forth the essential elements of
the charged offense. The instruction referenced
"U.S. v. Scott, et al., case no.
14-04065-CR-C-SRB, which case included the prosecution of
codefendant Malcolm Desean Redmon." Instruction 20
dropped the defendant identifier number, but included the
language identifying 14-04065 as a case involving Malcolm
Redmon. On December 7, 2016, the jury found Stephens guilty
of the crime as charged in the indictment under Instruction
No. 20. The district imposed a sentence at the high end of