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United States v. Murphy

filed: July 13, 1993.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHARLES HARDIN MURPHY, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. D.C. DOCKET NUMBER CR3-91-376-H. JUDGE Barefoot Sanders

Before Reavley, Duhe, and Barksdale, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

Per Curiam:

Charles Hardin Murphy, Jr., appeals his jury conviction of two counts of robbery of a financial institution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d), and two counts of carrying a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and his sentence. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On September 26, 1991, a clean-shaven male entered the Southwest Savings Bank, Dallas, Texas, and demanded money at gunpoint from tellers Garrett and Alexander. The robber absconded with $5,794. Both Garrett and Alexander gave detailed descriptions of the robber. Alexander also identified a .38 caliber pistol, which was recovered, approximately a month later, from a Mercury Sable automobile driven by Murphy, as either the same weapon or identical to the one which was brandished at her during the robbery.

Darryl Neff, a bank customer, observed the robber leave the bank and enter a blue Honda. Later on the day of the robbery, the car was recovered a few blocks from the bank. Its ignition had been damaged so that it could be operated without a key. A Dallas Police Investigator testified that the damage to the ignition could have been accomplished with a dent puller.

On October 3, 1991, a clean-shaven male entered the United Savings Bank, Dallas, Texas, and approached one of the tellers. The man robbed the teller at gunpoint using a .38 caliber pistol. Teller Irvin, who was in the next teller's booth, gave a detailed description of the robber. She observed the robber leave the building and enter a tan car. Before he exited, she activated her surveillance camera. Some of the money taken during the second robbery contained an electronic tracking device concealed in a cutout of the center of some of the bills.

A light colored Honda was found approximately one block from the United Savings Bank shortly after the robbery. Its ignition had been altered in a manner similar to the blue Honda. On the same day as the first robbery, a red Honda was stolen from a location close to Southwest Savings Bank. It was found after the second robbery. The ignition had been removed in a manner similar to the other two cars. Found in the vehicle was a photograph given to Murphy by a friend, a beer can with Murphy's fingerprint on it, a tracker dollar bill with the center removed, and a bag containing assorted screwdrivers, pliers, and a dent puller. None of the items were in the vehicle before its theft.

One month later, a police officer made a routine traffic stop of a Mercury Sable near Cap City, Texas. Murphy was driving and Randy Floyd was a front seat passenger. While the officer was performing a license and warrant check, Floyd drove the Sable away, leaving Murphy by the roadside. The officer pursued and overtook Floyd a short distance down the road. Murphy fled on foot but was located and arrested the next day. When inventoried, the Mercury Sable contained a rental agreement in Murphy's name, the earlier referenced .38 caliber short barrel revolver which matched the one used in both robberies, a police scanner with a book of police frequencies, a collection of tools, including a dent puller, a pair of sunglasses, and a bloody syringe located on the drivers side of the car.

Richard Crum, an FBI agent who specialized in firearms and tool mark identification, testified that the tool marks on the ignitions of the blue and tan Hondas could have been made with some of the tools found in the red Honda and/or the rented Sable.

Randy Floyd, who had known Murphy for ten or more years, identified him as the robber depicted in the surveillance photos. Floyd further testified that Murphy offered him $1,000 to rent a home for Murphy in Floyd's name. He also testified that Murphy instructed him to drive off in the Sable when the two men were stopped.

Murphy's mother testified that she last saw him on October 3, 1991, the day of the second robbery, but that he had ...


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