United States v. Shannon Smith

Case: 16-10819 Document: 00514287986 Page: 1 Date Filed: 12/28/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit No. 16-10819 FILED December 28, 2017 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff–Appellee, versus SHANNON DALE SMITH, Defendant–Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Before SMITH, OWEN, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges. JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge: Shannon Smith pleaded guilty of interstate communications with intent to extort in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(b). A jury found him guilty of posses- sion of firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence (“COV”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). He appeals the district court’s inclusion of the government’s re- quested jury instruction and challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm. Case: 16-10819 Document: 00514287986 Page: 2 Date Filed: 12/28/2017 No. 16-10819 I. Smith decided to extort money from the Boardmans, a local wealthy family. Smith called Boardman, told Boardman he was being watched, and directed him to a note on his door, instructing him to place $525,000 in cash or gold coins in a duffel bag and await further instructions. The note warned that Boardman, his wife, and his granddaughter were being watched and that someone would be taken should he try to contact the police. Boardman in- formed his friend, a retired state trooper, who contacted law enforcement. Two days later, Smith called again, graphically threatening Boardman’s granddaughter. That evening, Smith made two more threatening phone calls. Later, during the fourth call of the day, Smith directed Boardman to leave the duffel bag filled with money on the east side of a barn. The final call confirmed that Boardman had received the instructions and threatened that “there would be hell to pay” should there be a GPS tracker or a dye pack in the bag. That evening, officers drove Boardman’s car to the drop site and placed the duffel bag at the barn per Smith’s instructions. Six officers patrolled the area while others conducted aerial surveillance. Smith approached the barn in his vehicle and, exiting with his fourteen-year-old son, shined a spotlight in the area of the drop location, whereupon the officers arrested them. Smith informed the officers that he was armed, and they found a Glock, Model 23, .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol on his person. A Rock River Arms .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle and a Ruger .22 caliber rifle were in Smith’s truck. Although Smith told the officers he was hunting coyotes and an owl with his son, he later confessed to the extortion and that he was at the barn to see whether Boardman had left the money. He stated, however, that his son did not know of the extortion and that he did not plan to retrieve the bag at that time. 2 Case: 16-10819 Document: 00514287986 Page: 3 Date Filed: 12/28/2017 No. 16-10819 A federal indictment charged Smith under 18 U.S.C. § 875(b) for making threatening interstate communications with the intent ...

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