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United States v. Dillard

August 11, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Curtis L. Collier


Before the Court is Defendant Stanley Dillard's ("Defendant") Motion For New Trial (Court File No. 50). The Government filed a response to Defendant's motion (Court File No. 59) and Defendant filed a reply (Court File No. 60). For the following reasons, the Court will DENY Defendant's motion.


Defendant was charged in a one-count indictment of being a felon in possession of ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Court File No. 2). Following a plea of "not guilty," Defendant proceeded to trial before a jury of his peers, which covered parts of three days.*fn1 At the close of the Government's proof, Defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29. The Court denied the motion and on June 6, 2005, the jury found Defendant guilty (Court File No. 56). Defendant did not renew his Rule 29 motion, rather, he requests the Court to order a new trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33 on the basis the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of evidence.

The Court will briefly summarize the relevant testimony as it was presented during the trial below:

Ciara Bridgeman ("Bridgeman"), Defendant's girlfriend, testified she came home one day in June 2006 and found Defendant sleeping with her cousin. She became upset and kicked Defendant out of the house. Three days later, on June 16, 2006, she left her residence in Dayton, Tennessee and traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee in the afternoon. While in Chattanooga, she stopped by Defendant's residence but did not see Defendant. She then went back to Dayton. Sometime in the evening,*fn2 she was standing by a Dodge Intrepid owned by her and Defendant, in front of her cousin's house in Dayton. While standing there, she saw a white Honda drive by. She remembered Defendant and three other males were inside the car and Defendant began cursing and yelling at her. About thirty minutes later, they drove by again and Defendant fired a gun at or near her. Three bullets hit the Dodge Intrepid. After the shooting, she called Defendant on a cell phone and allowed Officer Adam Smith to listen to the conversation on the speaker phone. Defendant said he was the one who had shot the car and he was trying to kill her.

On cross examination Bridgeman admitted she was still in love with Defendant and wrote him love letters. In one of the letters Bridgeman stated she knew Defendant was not around the day the car was shot because he was in Chattanooga for his son's birthday. She also explained at one time she thought the shooter was her cousin Cory Wilson because Mr. Wilson had told her he was the one who fired the shots.

Dayton Police Department Officer J.C. Byrd ("Byrd") testified he arrived at the scene of the shooting around 9:30 p.m., shortly after the police were notified of the incident. Smith stated he found three .380 caliber shell casings in the road near where the Dodge Intrepid was parked. When he arrived at the scene it was dark so he used a flashlight to assist him in finding the shell casings. However, he noted there were streetlights near where the shooting took place.

Dayton Police Officer Adam Smith ("Smith") testified he assisted in the investigation of the shooting. After he arrived at the scene, he listened to a phone call between Bridgeman and an unidentified male on the speaker phone. He testified the male caller said, "I didn't shoot your car. I shot my car" and "When I find you, I'm going to beat your hind end."*fn3 Smith also testified it was dark outside when he arrived at the scene.

David Brooks ("Brooks") admitted during his testimony he was a felon who had been in possession of a .380 automatic handgun. He explained he was no longer in possession of the handgun because Bethany Pankey stole it.

Michael Hutcheson ("Hutcheson"), a car salesman in Pikeville, Tennessee, testified he sold a Dodge Intrepid to Defendant and Bridgeman on June 10, 2005. When he retrieved the car a few weeks later, the car had bullet holes in it.

Natalie Draper ("Draper") testified a birthday party was held for her and Defendant's son, Gregory, on June 16, 2006 in Chattanooga. According to Draper, the party started in the afternoon and lasted for four or five hours. She stated Defendant and Bridgeman were at the party and Defendant left the party with Bridgeman about 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.*fn4

Joanne Hester ("Hester"), Draper's mother, also testified Defendant left Gregory's birthday party between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. Although she was unsure of the exact time, she thought it was closer to 9:00 p.m. because she remembered seeing Defendant about the same time a television show she liked started. The television show started at 9:00 p.m.

Linda Dillard ("Dillard"), Defendant's mother, testified Defendant came to her house on June 16, 2006 about 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. to spend the night. However, she admitted she was unsure about the time he arrived in ...

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