Eleventh Circuit Court Of Appeals Uphold 780 Month Sentence For Solicited Hit On United States District Judge And Federal Prosecutor
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has upheld a 780 month sentence for Edmond H. Smith, IV, 45, of Mobile, Alabama, for his convictions on soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge William H. Steele and Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Greg Bordenkircher, both of Mobile, in retaliation for their roles in a March 2009 trial resulting in Smith’s conviction on a firearms-related charge. Prior to Smith’s sentencing in that case, he was recorded soliciting the murder of Judge Steele, AUSA Bordenkircher, a Mobile County deputy sheriff, Smith’s former business partner and newspaper reporter, Eddie Curran. Following his trial in January 2010, during which recordings of graphic descriptions by Smith of how he wanted the victims eliminated were played for the jury, Smith was sentenced to 780 months by Senior U.S. District Judge William H. Stafford, Jr., of the Northern District of Florida. Smith pledged over a million dollars worth of assets in payment for the solicited assassinations, including a Rolex watch, a used car, and the sword of legendary Pancho Villa.
On appeal, Smith challenged the reasonableness of his sentence and the admissibility of testimony from Judge Steele and AUSA Bordenkircher regarding security measures they took upon learning of Smith’s threats.
United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh of the Northern District of Florida had special praise for the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and for the work of Assistant United States Attorneys David L. Goldberg and Robert G. Davies, both of Pensacola, who represented the government at trial and on appeal. Federal prosecutors and a United States District Judge from outside Mobile were called upon to handle the case to avoid even an appearance of a conflict of interest, according to U.S. Attorney Marsh.