Witness Tampering Lands Mother in Federal Pris
Montgomery, Ala. – Bernadette Dickerson, a 47-year old Montgomery resident, was sentenced yesterday to 12 months and one day in prison as a result of her December 2014 guilty plea to witness tampering, announced George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
In January of 2014, Dickerson's son was involved in an automobile accident in Montgomery. After the accident, he was arrested by the Montgomery Police Department when witnesses told police they saw him hide a gun case in a drainage ditch. The gun case was found and contained a handgun, an assault rifle, four magazines, including one 60-round capacity magazine, and over 1200 rounds of assorted ammunition. Dickerson's son was later indicted on federal charges for being a felon in possession of firearms.
Shortly after her son’s indictment, Dickerson began contacting witnesses, including a woman who worked at the tire store across the street from the incident, the passenger in the car involved in the car wreck, and the driver of the car that struck her son's vehicle. The driver told FBI agents that a female who said her last name was Dickerson called him several times, asking him to testify that he did not see her son with guns. In exchange, she would pay him cash and give him a car.
According to court documents, Dickerson and her son also had specific discussions about Dickerson contacting the witnesses on her son's behalf and offering money if they agreed not to testify.
“My office takes witness tampering very seriously,” stated U.S. Attorney George Beck. “In order to protect the integrity of our court system, my office will aggressively prosecute those who use bribes or intimidation to hide the truth and obstruct justice.”
"Today’s sentencing is an example of how those who intentionally bribe and threaten witnesses for their own personal gain will be prosecuted to the maximum extent,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert F. Lasky. “The FBI’s Central Alabama Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force will continue to pursue those who try and disrupt the level playing field in a court of law.”
The case was investigated by the FBI's Central Alabama Safe Streets Violent Gang task force, with assistance from the Montgomery Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Geer.