89 F.3d 1326 (7th Cir. 1996), 94-2368, United States v. Rogers

Docket Nº:94-2368, 94-3836.
Citation:89 F.3d 1326
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Artez Lamont ROGERS and Harrison R. King, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:July 17, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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89 F.3d 1326 (7th Cir. 1996)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Artez Lamont ROGERS and Harrison R. King, Defendants-Appellants.

Nos. 94-2368, 94-3836.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 17, 1996

Argued May 28, 1996.

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David E. Risley (argued), Office of U.S. Atty., Springfield, IL, for U.S.

Thomas E. Griffith, Jr. (argued), Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson, Griffith & Walsh, Decatur, IL, for Artez Lamont Rogers.

Jon G. Noll, Jeffrey T. Page (argued), Springfield, IL, for Harrison R. King.

Before CUMMINGS, ESCHBACH and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

CUMMINGS, Circuit Judge.

Defendants Harrison King and Artez Rogers raise several challenges to their respective convictions for various drug-related activities, including murder in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise and possession and distribution of cocaine. We affirm the district court on all counts. Most notably, we reject defendants' argument that their criminal enterprise must have had a purpose "separate and apart" from drug dealing in order to qualify as an "enterprise" under 18 U.S.C. § 1959.


The facts of this case are numerous and complicated. Given the nature of the defendants' various challenges, one of which requires an inquiry into the sufficiency of the evidence to establish a criminal enterprise, a detailed review is necessary. The facts are taken primarily from the trial transcript, which is contained in multiple volumes.

  1. King's Cocaine Activities

    Defendant King and his partner Rodney Williams operated their first "drug house" at 1103 Oakdale in Springfield, Illinois, in late 1989 and early 1990. The house was located less than 600 feet from a public pre-school. King would drop off cocaine at the house, which "four or five" people, including Williams (his main partner), Donnell Hill, and Ronnie Black, would then sell on his behalf. King would later return to collect the proceeds. King and Williams obtained cocaine from a relative of Williams in Chicago; they pooled their money to buy quarter kilogram amounts, the majority of which was King's. Hill was primarily responsible for packaging the cocaine into $20 bags to be sold at the house. Two individuals who did not work at the house, Troy Powers and Monte Bingham, also sold cocaine for King during this period. King provided them with pre-packaged bags and told them how much money he expected from the proceeds.

    In the summer of 1990, Williams went to prison for a parole violation, and King began obtaining cocaine in Springfield from Willis Gragg. During this period, Alonzo Hampton began selling cocaine for King. King at first fronted Hampton $300 bags of cocaine, expecting $200 in return, but later Hampton started purchasing cocaine from King; at times, they pooled their money and bought cocaine together. King and Gragg (his current supplier) had a falling out because Gragg claimed King owed him money for

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    cocaine, resulting in Gragg's publicly hitting King with a pistol. The next day, King and Hampton, armed with a 9 mm. pistol and a .38 caliber revolver respectively, went looking for Gragg; once located, they both fired, but missed him and fled.

    Also during this period, Hill and Bingham accompanied King at his request to East St. Louis to obtain cocaine from a man named "Jonesy." Several trips were made, and each time King paid the others for making the trips. On another occasion, King paid Hill to drive him to Frank Stephenson's house. The three men then proceeded to Aaron Williams' house so that King could administer a beating over a dispute between Williams and King. In late 1990, while the Oakdale drug house was still in operation, another individual--Michael Tate--started working for King.

    King finally shut down the Oakdale drug house and opened shop at 411 North 11th Street, a public housing development and the residence of Wes and Dorothy Valentine. King paid the Valentines with cocaine for the use of the house. Hill, Tate, Bingham, Mark Gleghorn, Terry Buchanan, and sometimes Aaron Williams and Wes Valentine sold cocaine for King at the new drug house. King brought cocaine to the house; if it was not already prepackaged, Hill, Tate, Bingham, and sometimes Gleghorn would help King do the honors.

    In January 1991, Clifton Jefferson, a high-ranking gang member of the Vice Lords with an impressive reputation for robbing drug dealers, robbed King in front of the 11th Street drug house. King at first refused, but was persuaded to turn over the drug money when Jefferson shot the hat off his head. After the robbery, King told those present in the house--Hill, Bingham, and others--that he would get revenge on Jefferson even if it took two years and that he would get anyone else who crossed him. Hill and Hampton testified at trial regarding the necessity of maintaining a tough image as a drug dealer to prevent frequent robberies. The day after the robbery, King, Hill and Rob Tyler, each carrying a gun, shot up a house they erroneously believed to belong to Jefferson's girlfriend and occupied by Jefferson at the time.

    Once operations with "Jonesy" in East St. Louis had ceased, King began pooling money with Patrick Wallace to obtain cocaine from another Chicago source. On several occasions, Hill drove King and Wallace to Chicago where they acquired drugs. Wallace would hand money to one man in a parking lot, and another man would later deliver the drugs. Hill was paid for driving on each occasion. On the last trip, in March 1991, police seized about $60,000 from the courier before the drugs were delivered. Thus ended King's association with Wallace.

    King then began obtaining cocaine from "Beeno," another East St. Louis dealer. The list of individuals working with King increased, including during this period Stephenson, Henry Berry, Tate, Hill, Buchanan, and Powers. At some time in early 1991, King began obtaining cocaine from Robert Howell, who obtained the drugs from a David Garcia in Chicago in transactions arranged by Willis Gragg (at whom King and an associate had previously directed gunfire). Gragg went to prison in April 1991, but not before he arranged for his wife Dorothy to substitute as intermediary between Howell and Garcia. Once Garcia had the wherewithal to give Howell his pager number, Dorothy's services were no longer required. It was about this time that "crack" cocaine entered the Springfield drug market. Howell showed King how to produce crack from cocaine so that King could sell his cocaine faster.

    The incidents of violence began to increase. In early May 1991, Alfred Dawson robbed Henry Berry as he sold drugs on the street for King. Berry told Dawson that "Richard" (whom Dawson understood to be Richard King) was going to kill Dawson. Two days later, while in a car with Hill and Spencer Harris, King fired several rounds from a Glock 9 mm. semi-automatic pistol at Dawson, hitting him once in the back. King said that he shot Dawson in retaliation for robbing Berry. A day later, the police chased King for another shooting during which King threw the Glock pistol from his car window. The police later recovered it, and all 13 cartridge casings at the scene of Dawson's shooting were traced to the Glock.

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    In early summer 1991, King again associated with Wallace, who had just been released from a juvenile detention facility. King fronted drugs to Wallace, and Wallace eventually saved enough money to pay cash up front. King told Michael Harris that he intended to use Wallace to convince Wallace's aunt, Dorothy Gragg, to connect with her cocaine source in Chicago. Because King and Willis Gragg had not gotten along (King tried to shoot him), King worried that Dorothy would not help him unless he went through Wallace. King made similar remarks to Hill. King and Wallace became partners, pooling their money and distributing their respective shares through their own dealers.

    Howell, who worked with Garcia to obtain drugs, took a month-long vacation to Jamaica in August 1991. Wallace took this opportunity to approach Dorothy Gragg about buying drugs from Garcia in Chicago; Garcia agreed to the sale. Dorothy, Wallace, and King drove to Chicago to obtain the drugs. Dorothy was paid for making the trip. Over a week later, the group made a similar trip to Chicago that also included Aaron Williams. Thereafter, Dorothy made several more trips to pick up drugs for King and Wallace. She became friends with King and Wallace as a result of the regular Chicago runs, and she stated at trial that one could say she worked for King.

    During the same period, Stephenson, Tate, and Buchanan also distributed cocaine for King. In the fall of 1991, Hampton began selling cocaine for King again. Michael Harris also admitted that he worked for King because he sold cocaine fronted by King; Harris in turn employed three other people to help produce crack for sale. King instructed Stephenson in the production of crack, and by the end of 1991 Stephenson had four people helping him sell King's crack. The evidence indicated that King was very successful in his dealings: when Howell returned from Jamaica in September 1991, King displayed a stack of bills that he said contained $300,000.

  2. Jefferson's Murder and the Aftermath

    Clifton Jefferson, the gang member who had shot off King's hat and robbed him, entered the scene again in fall 1991. Jefferson approached King on the street, apologized for the robbery, and stated that he wanted to clean the slate; King responded that everything was cool and not to worry about it. Afterwards, King told Stephenson that he was glad Jefferson apologized. He believed that Jefferson only intended to rob him...

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