92 F.3d 244 (4th Cir. 1996), 95-5440, United States v. McKinnon

Docket Nº:95-5440.
Citation:92 F.3d 244
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Willie Orlando McKINNON, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:August 14, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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92 F.3d 244 (4th Cir. 1996)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Willie Orlando McKINNON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 95-5440.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

August 14, 1996

Argued March 8, 1996.

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ARGUED: Robert H. Edmunds, Jr., Stern, Graham & Klepfer, L.L.P., Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellant. Scott Patrick Mebane, Assistant United States Attorney, Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Walter C. Holton, Jr., United States Attorney, Maranda Freeman, Third Year Law Student, Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before ERVIN and NIEMEYER, Circuit Judges, and YOUNG, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge ERVIN wrote the opinion, in which Judge NIEMEYER and Senior Judge YOUNG joined.


ERVIN, Circuit Judge:

The district court ruled that police officers had no probable cause to arrest appellant, Willie O. McKinnon, and therefore suppressed evidence found on his person and statements that he made following his arrest. McKinnon now argues that the district court also should have suppressed testimony by his brother Adrian, whom McKinnon identified immediately following his arrest; had this testimony been excluded, McKinnon argues, there would have been insufficient evidence to convict him of unarmed bank robbery. Finding no error in the decision below, we affirm.


Central Carolina Bank ("CCB"), in Greensboro, North Carolina, was robbed at about 3:30 p.m. on December 13, 1994. Witnesses described the robber as a dark-complexioned black male, about five feet ten, wearing a long dark coat, a hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black and white tennis shoes, and sunglasses. He gave the teller a blue piece of paper that said "Stick up. No bate [sic]." He left the bank on foot. Near the bank is a creek, which varies in depth from a few inches to four feet; there are also railway spurs connecting a main railroad line with area businesses.

Greensboro police immediately responded to the CCB. Officer Joseph Jeziorski was provided with the suspect's description and set up surveillance of the railroad tracks, approximately a quarter of a mile behind the bank. He observed three or four black males walking along the tracks and briefly questioned them. After he examined their identification, determined that none had any warrants outstanding, and patted each down for weapons, he let them go on their way, as none matched the robber's description. Shortly thereafter, McKinnon appeared, walking along a railroad spur, dressed only in blue jeans and a long-john shirt, although it was quite cold. After a brief encounter, during which Jeziorski observed that McKinnon's pants were "damp," Jeziorski allowed McKinnon to proceed, and he continued down the main railroad track.

About forty minutes after the robbery, Greensboro Police Detective J.A. Fulmore saw McKinnon walking down the street, and called for backup. On Fulmore's instruction, Officer Mark Ridgill stopped McKinnon, who

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cooperated and produced identification. Ridgill asked McKinnon why his pants were wet--soaking wet, as later characterized by Ridgill--and McKinnon said that he had stepped in a puddle. Doubting the veracity of this answer, Fulmore ordered Ridgill to arrest McKinnon. Detective N.O. Rankin interrogated McKinnon while he was in custody, and McKinnon disclosed his name, address, and the name "Adrian." Rankin then found Adrian...

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