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Spencer v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

March 3, 2016

THEODORE R. SPENCER, et al., Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.

Argued October 1, 2015

On Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Criminal Division Nos. CF1-12761-11; CF1-12768-11; CF1-12769-11 (Hon. Thomas J. Motley, Trial Judge)

Thomas D. Engle for appellant Theodore Spencer.

Joshua Deahl, Public Defender Service, with whom Christine A. Monta, James Klein and Samia Fam, Public Defender Service, were on the brief, for appellant Terrell Wilson.

Craig N. Moore and Betty M. Ballester for appellant Phillip Charles Swan.

James A. Ewing, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Ronald Machen Jr., United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Chrisellen R. Kolb, Vinet Bryant, and Michelle Bradford, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

Before Washington, Chief Judge, Thompson, Associate Judge, and Pryor, Senior Judge.

JUDGMENT

This case came to be heard on the transcript of record, the briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, and as set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the judgment on appeal is affirmed, in part, and remanded to the trial court for merger of the convictions in accordance with this opinion.

OPINION

Pryor, Senior Judge:

Appellants Theodore Reginald "Reggie" Spencer, Terrell Wilson, and Phillip Swan appeal their convictions stemming from events that occurred over two days in June 2011, which culminated in the brutal killing of Mr. Glenn Scarborough. Each appellant challenges his convictions on multiple grounds; we address each in turn. Appellants argue that in the event of affirmance by this court, merger is necessary for some of their convictions, and the government agrees. We affirm, in part, and remand for merger of certain convictions in accordance with this opinion.

I. Facts

In June 2011, Sharon Spencer was in Georgetown University Hospital dying from cancer. Her son, Reggie Spencer, at least partially blamed his mother's longtime companion, Glenn Scarborough, for his mother's worsening condition. Scarborough and Sharon Spencer had a complicated relationship that included drug use, prostitution, and physical abuse.

On Friday, June 17, 2011, appellant Spencer received a telephone call from his grandmother notifying him that his mother's condition was not good, and that he should come see her at the hospital. Spencer, who lived in Orange County, Virginia, was accompanied to Georgetown Hospital by his sister Jasmine Spencer, [1] appellants Wilson and Swan, Devon Horner, and Heather Swan. Spencer drove the group from Culpeper, Virginia to the District in Swan's car. At the hospital, Spencer and his sister Jasmine visited their mother in her hospital room. After the visit, Spencer was "upset, distraught, and crying." Spencer told the group that he wanted to go to Mr. Scarborough's house and "beat up him up." The group departed the hospital and, utilizing the car's global positioning system, Spencer drove the group in Swan's car to Scarborough's house. When they arrived, Spencer, Wilson, and Horner exited while Swan, Heather, and Jasmine remained in the car. Spencer knocked and Scarborough answered the door naked. Appellant Wilson, who had a gun, ordered Scarborough to get on the floor. Thereafter, Spencer and Wilson tied Scarborough up and beat him, leaving him tied up and naked on his basement floor. When the three returned to the car, approximately ten to fifteen minutes after they had left, they had a small black bag and were counting money from it. The six all drove back to Virginia together.

Early in the morning on June 18, 2011, Terrance Dupree, Scarborough's upstairs neighbor, heard Scarborough shouting for help outside of Dupree's front door. Upon opening it, Dupree found Scarborough naked with his hands tied behind his back. Dupree brought Scarborough to the kitchen where he used a knife to cut the rope and free ...


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