953 F.2d 387 (8th Cir. 1992), 91-1382, United States v. Erdman

Docket Nº:91-1382ND.
Citation:953 F.2d 387
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Ronald R. ERDMAN, Appellant.
Case Date:January 08, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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953 F.2d 387 (8th Cir. 1992)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Ronald R. ERDMAN, Appellant.

No. 91-1382ND.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 8, 1992

Submitted Oct. 30, 1991.

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Alan J. Sheppard, Fargo, N.D., for appellant.

Norman G. Anderson, Fargo, N.D., for appellee.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, BRIGHT, Senior Circuit Judge, and MAGILL, Circuit Judge.

MAGILL, Circuit Judge.

Ronald Erdman appeals from his conviction for harboring or concealing a fugitive in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1071 (1988). Erdman argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. He also argues that the trial court 1 erred in its definition of "harboring or concealing," in its handling of a jury request for transcripts of parts of the trial testimony, and in its admission of purely speculative evidence. We affirm the conviction. Because we find Erdman's other claims meritless, we discuss only the sufficiency of the evidence claim.


On September 14, 1989, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Merlyn Yagow in connection with a bankruptcy fraud indictment. The same day, FBI agent Kenneth M. Aldridge attempted to locate Yagow by contacting Yagow's brother, Morris. Aldridge informed Morris of the warrant, but Morris said he did not know where Yagow was. Subsequently, agent Aldridge regularly contacted Yagow's family and friends in his attempt to locate Yagow. Agent Aldridge testified that whenever he contacted anyone, he told them about the warrant and usually showed them a copy.

At about the same time the warrant was issued, Yagow left his home near Gwinner, North Dakota, where he lived with his wife and child. He went to Clay County, Minnesota, near Barnesville, where he met Erdman, whom he had known since 1986, at the home of a mutual friend. Shortly after Yagow's arrival in Barnesville, Erdman painted Yagow's green van a maroon color. In early October, Erdman helped Yagow find work hauling sugar beets, and then helped Yagow do the actual hauling. Between January and March 1990, Craig Baker, a Clay County (Minnesota) Deputy Sheriff, repeatedly saw Yagow's van parked at a trailer house he believed belonged to Erdman. 2 On March 1, 1990, Deputy Baker took a picture of the van parked at the trailer.

On March 16, 1990, agent Aldridge and Erdman met in Fargo. Both admit that they discussed the whereabouts of Yagow. Agent Aldridge testified that he told Erdman about the arrest warrant, that Erdman already knew about the warrant, that Erdman told him that the warrant was not valid because it was not signed by a judge, and that Erdman said he did not know what kind of vehicle Yagow was driving. Erdman denied that agent Aldridge told him about the warrant, and claimed that he did not know about the warrant until July 1990. He also testified that he could not remember if agent Aldridge asked him what kind of vehicle Yagow was driving.

On May 2, 1990, Yagow opened a checking account at Union State Bank, Fargo, in the name of First Dakota Trust. The next day he attempted to cash a check drawn on his account, but the bank refused because the check he had deposited to open the account had not cleared yet. On May 8, Erdman attempted to cash a check drawn on Yagow's account. Again the bank refused

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to cash the check. There was conflicting testimony about Erdman's attempts to cash checks on this account. A teller at the bank's drive-up window testified that Erdman unsuccessfully attempted to cash three different checks on that account during May, two made payable to...

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