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United States v. Dotson

July 7, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
GLEN THOMAS DOTSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Benton, Circuit Judge

Submitted: June 12, 2009

Before BYE, HANSEN, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

A jury found Glen Thomas Dotson guilty of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958, and conspiracy to deliver a firearm to a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(d)(1) and 371. The district court*fn1 sentenced Dotson to 120 months imprisonment on each count, to run consecutively. Dotson appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742, this court affirms.

I.

Dotson claims there was insufficient evidence for both convictions. This court reviews the sufficiency of evidence de novo, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict. United States v. Bower, 484 F.3d 1021, 1025 (8th Cir. 2007). This court will reverse only if it concludes that no reasonable jury could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. United States v. Santana, 524 F.3d 851, 853 (8th Cir. 2008).

First, Dotson argues that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. To prove a conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, the government must prove that there was an agreement to kill Cox, Dotson knew of the agreement, and Dotson intentionally joined the agreement. See United States v. Hyles, 521 F.3d 946, 954 (8th Cir. 2008). Circumstantial evidence alone can prove the elements of conspiracy. Id. Evidence that a co-conspirator participated in acts that furthered the conspiracy is substantive evidence of the conspiracy's existence. United States v. Titlbach, 339 F.3d 692, 697 (8th Cir. 2003).

The government presented evidence that Dotson was aware of Jackson's desire to kill Cox, procured and delivered a firearm at Jackson's direction, and knew the ultimate purpose for the firearm. A reasonable jury could conclude:

* Dotson was the "right hand man" of bail bondsman Virgil Lee Jackson.

* Jackson, a convicted felon, had a grudge against Gerald Cox for opposing a Missouri Senate Bill that would permit convicted felons to apply for bail-bond licenses.

* Jackson hired another bail bondsman to kill Cox.

* Dotson conspired with Jackson to procure a weapon for the shooter.

* Dotson acquired a firearm and delivered it to Jackson.

There was sufficient evidence that Dotson conspired to commit ...


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