185 F.3d 393 (5th Cir. 1999), 160;

Docket Nº:160;
Citation:185 F.3d 393
Party Name:United States v Dixon
Case Date:August 16, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 393

185 F.3d 393 (5th Cir. 1999)



JIMMIE LEE DIXON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 98-10371


August 16, 1999

Page 394

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Before KING, Chief Judge, SMITH and BARKSDALE, Circuit Judges.

JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge:

Jimmie Dixon appeals his conviction of robbery, assault, kidnaping, and firearms violations, asserting that the district court erred by (1) allowing expert testimony on the ultimate issue of his insanity defense in violation of FED. R. EVID. 704(b); (2) refusing to give a jury instruction on the insanity defense; and (3) enhancing his sentence based on his causing "serious bodily injury" and his use of a firearm in a crime of violence. Because we reverse the refusal to instruct the jury on the insanity defense

Page 395

and remand for a new trial, we do not reach Dixon's challenges to his sentencing enhancements.



Dixon entered the emergency room of a VA hospital, approached hospital employee Josephine Adams, and ordered her to come with him. He then put his hand in his jacket and told her, "I've got a gun." When Adams began backing away, Dixon pulled out his gun and pointed it at her. He repeatedly threatened to shoot her, and she pleaded with him not to do so. Eventually, Adams managed to escape by jumping through an interior window into a small room, in which she locked herself and her husband, John Adams. Before she locked the door, John Adams saw a man fitting Dixon's description holding a pistol-grip shotgun saying "something to the effect that get down or I'll blow your MF head off."

Other witnesses saw Dixon holding a pistol-grip shotgun and heard him tell everyone in the waiting area to lie down. Lonnie Shepard, a hospital employee, testified that he tried to run when he saw Dixon but that Dixon told him to get on the floor and get out his billfold.

Two ambulance drivers entered the emergency room lobby, having just dropped off a patient. Dixon confronted the drivers, Janet Shahan and David Dyer, with the shotgun and told them to get on the floor or he would "blow your heads off." After they complied, Dixon demanded Dyer's wallet, but Dyer had only his checkbook. Dixon threw down the checkbook but took a diamond engagement ring and five dollars from Shahan.

Dixon ordered Dyer and Shahan to get up, telling them that "we're going for a little walk." He warned that it would not bother him to shoot and kill them, noting that he had been in Vietnam and had killed people before. He said he was angry at the hospital because they had given him the run-around.

On their way down a corridor, Dixon asked another bystander, Charles Redd, whether he had any money for a soda. Redd said that he had no money; displaying his shotgun, Dixon replied, "Don't worry about it, this .410 [shotgun] will take care of it." Redd backed away.

When Dixon, Dyer, and Shahan made it outside the hospital, Dixon ordered Dyer to get the ambulance. He then put his arm around Shahan and pointed the shotgun at her throat. Dyer walked away, saw a police officer approaching, and heard the shotgun discharge.

When Dyer walked away, Dixon kissed Shahan and asked whether she was going to be "his woman" that night. Seeing a police car pull up, he pointed his shotgun at the departing Dyer and fired. Dixon then dragged her to his car, telling her that they had to hurry to avoid the police and that he had to cover her uniform with his jacket to make it harder to identify her. He forced her into the passenger seat of his car and sat down on the driver's side, keeping the shotgun on the armrest.

Driving away, Dixon lit up a marihuana joint, told Shahan to take a drag, and, after she did so without inhaling, ordered her to inhale. He had Shahan put duct tape over her eyes and drove in circles so she would not know where he lived. He also restrained her with handcuffs he had purchased two days earlier.

After they arrived at Dixon's house, he initially left Shahan blinded and handcuffed on his bed, explaining that he did not want her to be able to identify him by the things in his room. When he took the tape and handcuffs off, he suggested that they pretend they were married and that they had just gotten back from work. He took off her boots and began rubbing her feet, then told her to lie down on the bed, warning her to be careful because a gun was under the pillow. He lay down beside her, but got up to turn on a tape recorder

Page 396

to record their having sex. Then, after undressing himself and Shahan, he raped her. Shahan testified that "I didn't fight him because I would have ended up dead. That's the way I felt."

Afterward, Dixon talked with Shahan, telling her that he had been in the military, and he showed her his bullets and grenade. He talked about how he was angry at the government and that they had not given him his medication. He told her that he wanted to kill a doctor and that he was mad at the police. He also said that he had three missions, one of which was to take a hostage. Finally, he told Shahan that he was "bipolar."

During the night, Dixon wanted to go out for beer. He gave Shahan some of his clothes to wear, telling her that it would make it harder to identify her. He also blindfolded and handcuffed her again and put her in his car. At the store, he took off the blindfold and handcuffs but gave her sunglasses to wear and instructed her to act as though she were his girlfriend.

Dixon bought some beer and cigars. Returning to his car, he did not handcuff or blindfold Shahan again, but put duct tape over the sunglass lenses, which allowed her to see some of the landmarks near Dixon's house. Police later used this information to apprehend Dixon. During their drive, he talked repeatedly about how he was proud to be getting away with it and that he would not be caught.

After returning to Dixon's house, Dixon asked Shahan whether they could have a relationship. Shahan tried to appease him by giving him her telephone number. He called the number and left a voicemail message with both of their voices on it. He also called his brother and told him not to come into Dixon's room because Dixon had a friend over. When a car later drove by, Dixon listened to see whether it was his brother. He boasted, however, that he did not care whether it was the police, because "as long as I have you as a hostage, I can do anything."

Dixon told Shahan that they would have sex one more time before he would drop her off, because he had to go to work later. He raped her again, then returned her original clothes but removed her knife, driver's license, and a $100 bill. He also kept her underwear as a memento. He said he would keep her license for three days and that he hoped they would call each other. Finally, before leaving, he had her inscribe a Valentine's Day card.

Driving Shahan back to her workplace, Dixon again had her wear the taped sunglasses and told her that the "alibi" would be that she was his girlfriend. He explained that he would drop her off at a nearby convenience store, but he ended up dropping her off at a pay phone some distance away, saying that he did not want to drop her off right in front of the store because that would look suspicious.

Shahan walked to her workplace and went in. Later, she was taken to a hospital and underwent a pelvic examination, which revealed sexual intercourse within the previous four to six hours.

The police, acting on information provided by Shahan, arrested Dixon at his house the same morning he had dropped Shahan off. They found a number of identifying items, including Shahan's underwear, the grenade, the handcuffs, duct tape, and a cassette recorder. Dixon's fingerprints were found on the sunglasses and on pieces of duct tape.


Dixon was indicted on five counts: (1) robbing Janet Shahan by force, violence, and intimidation in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 7(3)1 and 2111; (2) attempting to rob Dyer in violation of the same statute; (3) assaulting Dyer with a sawed-off shotgun

Page 397

in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 7(3) and 113(a); (4) using and carrying a gun in relation to a kidnaping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1); and (5) kidnaping Shahan for the purpose of committing aggravated sexual abuse in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(2). The defense offered medical records detailing Dixon's history of mental illness and showing that he had been diagnosed with acute schizophrenia beginning in 1976. Later examinations during the 1980's concluded he had "chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia," "disorganized schizophrenia," "chronic paranoid schizophrenia," "schizoaffective schizophrenia," "manic bipolar disorder," "bipolar disorder," and "mixed bipolar disorder." The diagnosis of "mixed bipolar disorder" was made by a doctor at the federal detention center the day after Dixon was arrested.

Having entered these records into evidence, however, Dixon's counsel did not call any expert witnesses to testify regarding it, but, instead, simply argued that "showing the lengthy history and diagnosis of his mental illnesses, and the description of those mental illnesses by the doctor, and the timing of the evaluations that I was able to put before the Court" raises the issue of whether Dixon was legally sane when he committed the acts of which he was charged. Therefore, most of the discussion of Dixon's medical history occurred during the cross-examination of Dr. James Wolfson, the government's expert mental health witness.

Wolfson, a forensic psychiatrist at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, had originally...

To continue reading