451 F.2d 394 (8th Cir. 1971), 20357, Tasby v. United States

Docket Nº:20357-20360.
Citation:451 F.2d 394
Party Name:Johnnie TASBY, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Booker T. BURKHALTER, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Joe Willie FEGGETT, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Paul Lawrence BRYANT, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:November 11, 1971
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 394

451 F.2d 394 (8th Cir. 1971)

Johnnie TASBY, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Booker T. BURKHALTER, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Joe Willie FEGGETT, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Paul Lawrence BRYANT, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Nos. 20357-20360.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

November 11, 1971

Rehearing Denied in No. 20358 Dec. 10, 1971.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied Dec. 17, 1971.

Page 395

John B. Hainen, DeQueen, Ark., for Johnnie Tasby.

Page 396

Paul Henry Kidd, Monroe, La., for Booker T. Burkhalter.

Howard Waldrop, Texarkana, Ark., for Joe Willie Feggett.

Royce S. Weisenberger, Jr., Texarkana, Ark., for Paul Lawrence Bryant.

James A. Gutensohn, Asst. U. S. Atty., Fort Smith, Ark., Bethel B. Larey, U.S. Atty., for appellee.

Before GIBSON, HEANEY and BRIGHT, Circuit Judges.

BRIGHT, Circuit Judge.

On January 8, 1970, Johnnie Tasby, Booker T. Burkhalter, and Paul Lawrence Bryant broke into the Emmett Vickers home in rural Texarkana, Arkansas, and, at gun point, kidnapped fifteen year old Karen Vickers, who was at home with her mother. An accomplice, Joe Willie Feggett, waited outside in a getaway car. The four kidnappers took Karen across the Arkansas border into Texarkana, Texas, and held her, first in an apartment of defendant Hugh Mulzac Smith, and later in a Texarkana, Texas, motel room, subject to a $40,000 ransom demand. These five men subsequently stood trial before a jury in federal district court in Texarkana, Arkansas, on charges of interstate kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201, interstate communication of a ransom demand in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875, and conspiracy to engage in interstate kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. The jury acquitted defendant Smith, but found the others guilty as charged. Judge Paul X. Williams thereupon imposed substantial sentences on defendants-appellants. Each appeals, raising a number of issues.

Tasby, Feggett, and Bryant assert that the trial court erred in failing to grant their pretrial motions for separate trials, and in refusing to order a change of venue to remove the adverse effect of extensive pretrial publicity. All of the defendants, except Tasby, challenge the voluntariness of confessions which they made to FBI investigators. In addition, Burkhalter and Feggett raise questions relating to the legality of their arrests. Feggett asserts that the trial court erred in refusing to grant a continuance. Tasby contests the denial of his motion for a new trial, alleging misconduct of the prosecutor. He also alleges that the trial judge committed other error in the conduct of the trial. Bryant, in a pro se presentation to this court, questions the adequacy of the representation which he has received from his counsel on this appeal. Finally, Burkhalter asserts that the trial court erred in admitting testimony of the sheriff which described the course of the investigation. We reject appellants' contentions and affirm their convictions.

The evidence established that the police rescued kidnapped Karen Vickers from the custody of appellant Bryant. An independent eye witness recognized appellant Tasby as one of a group of men taking Karen into defendant Smith's apartment in Texarkana, Texas. Law enforcement authorities traced the initial telephone call demanding ransom to a pay telephone located in the Harlem Inn, a bar in Texarkana, Arkansas. Appellant Burkhalter was identified as the person who had used that telephone at about the time that this initial ransom call was made. He was arrested at the Harlem Inn. Tasby and Feggett were arrested a short time later as they were leaving the Harlem Inn. Police released all three men the next day after defendant Smith telephoned a warning that Karen was in danger unless the three were set free. Smith, thereafter, was questioned by police and led them to the motel where Karen was being detained. Following the safe recovery of Karen and the arrest of Bryant and Smith, the police rearrested Burkhalter, Feggett, and Tasby. At trial, special agents of the FBI testified...

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