Before Farrell, Glickman, and Washington, Associate Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Washington, Associate Judge
Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Hon. Herbert B. Dixon, Jr., Trial Judge
Alyse Graham, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Wilma A. Lewis, United States Attorney, and John R. Fisher, Thomas J. Tourish, Jr., and Jennifer M. Anderson, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.
Appellants Larry Dancy, Michael Mason, and Clayvon Anderson were convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, *fn1 first-degree burglary while armed, *fn2 two counts of armed robbery, *fn3 two counts of first-degree murder while armed (premeditated), *fn4 four counts of first-degree murder while armed (felony murder), *fn5 and assault with intent to kill while armed. *fn6 Mason and Anderson were also convicted of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence or dangerous offense, *fn7 and carrying a pistol without a license. *fn8 Appellants filed timely appeals on various grounds. We affirm and remand solely for the purpose of allowing the trial court to vacate certain merging convictions and resentence accordingly.
This case arises from the murders of Michelle and Thirese Lewis during a robbery of their home. On the morning of November 1, 1995, Michael Lewis telephoned appellant Anderson to buy either a half or full kilogram of cocaine. Lewis kept the money for his drug purchases in a safe that was hidden in a cardboard box in his mother's second-floor bedroom. The safe contained cash, personal papers, drugs, and a man's gold and diamond ring. Anderson had been present on several occasions when Lewis had conducted drug transactions and was aware that Lewis retrieved large amounts of cash from the safe upstairs. Anderson informed Lewis that he could be at Lewis' mother's house on Fifth Street with a half to a full kilogram of cocaine within thirty minutes. Lewis told Anderson that thirty minutes was inconvenient, but he would call Anderson at 12:30 p.m. to arrange a time for the buy.
On the same morning, appellant Mason visited his girlfriend, Dominique Williams. Mason asked Williams if he could use her telephone to call Anderson. After the telephone call, Mason asked Williams if she would drive him to pick up Anderson and to a drug deal with "Mike." Before leaving, Mason pulled out a silver revolver, checked the barrel to see if it was loaded, and put it in his inside coat pocket. As they were driving in Williams' car, a white Cadillac, they spotted appellant Dancy, otherwise known as "Boogie." *fn9 Mason got out of the car to speak with Dancy, the two men got back in the car, and they then picked up Anderson.
After picking up Anderson, Mason directed Williams to drive to a house at 1010 Fifth Street, Northeast. Mason told Anderson to call to see if "Mike" was home. After placing the call, Anderson reported that "Mike" was not home. Mason told Williams to circle the block so that he could look for "Mike's" truck. When they did not see the truck, Mason told Williams to turn into an alley. Before exiting the car, Mason asked Anderson if he was "strapped," and Anderson answered yes. At about this time, a neighbor saw a white Cadillac pull into an alley and stop. As she passed the car, she saw that four people were inside. She saw three of them get out of the car, leaving one behind in the driver's seat. The three approached the house at 1010 Fifth Street.
Inside the house were Lewis' sisters, Michelle and Thirese, their mother's boyfriend, James Reed, and Ronnie Sloan, Thirese Lewis' common law husband. Reed, while using the bathroom in the basement of the house, heard a scream and feet pounding upstairs. He then heard what sounded like several gunshots. Sloan, who was sleeping on the second floor of the house, woke up to the sound of gunshots. As he went to his bedroom door, he saw one man running down the stairs calling out, "It's one in the closet." A second man then came out of Mrs. Lewis' bedroom, stood in front of Sloan, and pointed a large revolver at him. Sloan recognized the man as "Mike" from his old neighborhood. Mason then shot Sloan three times in the chest. The two Lewis sisters had each been shot twice in the head.
Williams saw Anderson and Dancy come running from the direction of the house towards the car. According to Williams, Anderson and Dancy looked excited and had smiles on their faces. Anderson was carrying a large cardboard box. Mason quickly walked down the alley about two minutes later. Once in the car, Mason pulled his gun out of his jeans and put it in his coat and told Williams to drive away. As Williams drove away, Anderson and Dancy were shaking and fumbling with a safe that they had removed from the cardboard box. Dancy said, "Man, there ain't nothing in here, sound like some papers; we did all that for nothing." Mason asked Anderson, "Man, why you ain't shoot?" Anderson responded, "I tried to shoot but my gun got stuck." Mason then asked Anderson, "Man why you call out my name?" and yelled at Anderson for having called out Mason's name inside the house. Anderson explained that there was someone in the closet and that he needed Mason's help in looking for the safe.
Williams drove the group back to the house of Nitiya Miller, Anderson's old girlfriend. As they went inside, one of them was carrying the safe, and Mason and Anderson were carrying their guns. Anderson and Dancy went to find tools with which to open the safe. Mason finally opened it unassisted and found that it contained money, drugs, papers, and some jewelry. The three men began to count the money and to divide the items up among themselves. They each took a share of the money and drugs, and Anderson and Dancy each took a ring.
Anderson asked Mason to take the safe and dump it somewhere as Mason, Dancy and Williams were leaving, but Mason refused. Anderson took the safe to the back yard, burned the remaining papers to ashes, and rinsed out the safe with a hose. Miller then asked Anderson, "what was going on, who did you [Anderson] get." Anderson responded that he had "robbed some niggers in Northeast."
Williams dropped Dancy off at his apartment complex and then returned to her apartment building with Mason. Mason pulled out his gun and said he "had some bodies on it" and that he "had to get rid of it." He went across the hall to his cousin Sharnita Green's apartment and returned a few minutes later. When he returned, Mason described for Williams in detail what had happened inside the Lewis house. Later that day, Green was ...