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United States v. Williams

decided: August 5, 1993.


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. D.C. DOCKET NUMBER CR4-91-34. JUDGE Paul Brown

Before Goldberg, Higginbotham, and Davis, Circuit Judges.

Author: Goldberg

GOLDBERG, Circuit Judge:

Appellant was convicted by a jury of kidnapping his estranged wife with the intent of committing "immoral" acts (sexually assaulting his wife while their child watched), being a felon in possession of a gun, and using a gun to commit a crime of violence in interstate commerce. He appeals, contending that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; that the district court erred in denying him the services of a court-appointed psychiatrist to determine his sanity at the time of the offense and his competence to stand trial; that the court erred in instructing the jury on the scope of the indictment; and that the government's failure to disclose certain materials denied him a fair trial. We affirm.


After Lisa Dana (hereafter "Dana") filed for divorce from Paul Dana Williams, a/k/a Paul William Dana (hereafter "Williams"), the two separated and lived apart. Their two year-old son lived with Dana. On or about November 1, 1991, Williams came to Dana's home and convinced her to bring their son out with him to a local shopping mall, so that they could pick out a shiny new wagon for the boy. After they shopped unsuccessfully for a wagon, they returned to Williams' van.

Dana later testified that after they returned to the van, Williams began choking her and produced a gun, threatening to kill her with it. He took her to the back of the van and raped her. Afterward, he bound her with tape and wire, and took her and their son on a journey from Texas to Oklahoma and back again. Along the way, defendant repeatedly threatened, beat and sexually assaulted his wife in front of their young son, who became highly distressed by what he was forced to witness. Williams told Dana that he came prepared to kill her and that he had a shovel in the van with which he would bury her.

Finally, Dana persuaded Williams to hand her the gun and return her to her home. She immediately sought the advice of friends. These friends told her to go directly to a hospital for medical care and an examination to preserve evidence of the rape, and to go to the police to turn over the gun and tell her story. Dana followed this advice. The medical examination revealed that Dana had been violently sexually assaulted.

Williams was convicted by a jury of (1) kidnapping his wife with the goal of accomplishing an "immoral purpose," in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1) (count one);*fn1 (2) possessing and transporting a firearm in interstate commerce despite being prohibited from doing so based on a prior conviction for a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (count two);*fn2 and (3) carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (count three).*fn3 Defendant was acquitted of a fourth count pertaining to transporting a person in interstate commerce with the intent to commit rape, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2421 and Oklahoma Criminal Code Title 21 § 1111(b). Defendant was sentenced to 420 months imprisonment.



Count one of the indictment charged Williams with kidnapping Dana for an immoral purpose. Counts two and three of the indictment referred to a particular gun (listing its serial number). Williams argues that there was insufficient evidence supporting the "immoral purpose" element of the kidnapping charged in count one, and that there was insufficient evidence to show that the gun introduced at trial in support of counts two and three was the same gun used by him in kidnapping and assaulting his wife.

To the extent that there is substantial evidence to support the verdict, the verdict must be sustained.*fn4 The appellate court's role does not extend to weighing the evidence or the credibility of the witnesses.*fn5 If a rational jury could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the essential elements of the crimes charged, the conviction should be upheld.*fn6 We conclude that the government presented sufficient evidence to support its contention that Williams kidnapped Dana for an immoral purpose and used the gun with the particular serial number listed in the indictment.

The government presented evidence establishing an unbroken chain of possession from the time Dana turned the gun in to the police. Not only did Dana testify that the gun presented in evidence was the same gun used to threaten her, but another witness testified that he believed he had sold that particular gun to Williams.*fn7 In any case, because Williams made no objection to the admission of the pistol into evidence, he has waived his right to object to its admission on appeal. United States v. Leichtnam, 948 F.2d 370, 375 (7th Cir. 1991). Since evidence was presented that the gun was manufactured in California, was sold to ...

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