780 Month Sentence for Plot to Assassinate Federal Judge & Prosecutor

By: U.S. Department of Justice Release
By: U.S. Department of Justice Release

A copy of the appellate court’s opinion may be reviewed at:
http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/unpub/ops/201014902.pdf .

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – October 28, 2011 -

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.


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  • by Potential Juror Location: Tallahassee on Oct 30, 2011 at 06:21 AM
    I hope that Willie Megg's sentence is not as severe. Dennis Jones, Bill PRoctor, John Marks, all of you playing fast and loose with the law look at these federal sentences. We sit on these juries too!
  • by McBreezey on Oct 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM
    Typical sentence for a murder/attempted is about 25 yrs . 25x12=300. 300x5 (potential victims). The possibility of about 1500 months . Looking at 125 years. No plea since evidence was really good and graphic in description. 730 is about 60 years. Parole could be a possibility if the laws change. Good time . About 2.5 life sentences for attempting to murder 5 people.
  • by Ernie Location: Tallahassee on Oct 29, 2011 at 04:40 PM
    I wonder what he'd got if his intended victims had been ordinary hardworking Americans? My bet, nothing more than a five and fifteen deal.. We aren't valuable enough to rate as much time as the legal beagles..
  • by wow aint that judge and cop special. Location: ale bamme on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:17 PM
    this speakezs for itself. never kill a judge if you want to kill someone kill a innosent family get half the time.
  • by Huh??! on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    Dude gets a 65 year sentences for plotting a murder but a person who actually commits a murder gets less than that?? Hrrrmmmmmm!! Also...why does the headline have to read "780 months"?? Just say 65 years! It's like those parents who say, "my kid is 24 months old". Please...your kid is 2 years old!
    • reply
      by John on Oct 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM in reply to Huh??!
      Because they use months in federal sentencing guidelines, not years.
      • reply
        by Really? on Oct 28, 2011 at 02:46 PM in reply to John
        I had the same question. Thanks for the answer.
      • reply
        by Huh??! on Oct 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM in reply to John
        Well I guess that makes sense then ;)
    • reply
      by animal farm on Oct 28, 2011 at 03:10 PM in reply to Huh??!
      "Dude gets a 65 year sentences for plotting a murder but a person who actually commits a murder gets less than that??" Some animals are more equal than others.
      • reply
        by Gerry on Oct 29, 2011 at 06:49 AM in reply to animal farm
        He actually wanted to murder a US District Judge and an Assistant US Attorney. His plan also included the murder of 3 others: a local sheriff's deputy, a former business partner, and a journalist. Seems like a reasonable sentence.
        • reply
          by animal farm on Oct 29, 2011 at 01:32 PM in reply to Gerry
          Did I say it wasn't?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Oct 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM in reply to Gerry
          Wanting and plotting to kill someone is a horrible act but my only issue is that there are people out there that actually followed through with the killing and got less time. Also, I don't think the fact that the people he thought about killing were high officials means anything. Planning to kill a judge or the little old lady next door is equally bad in my eyes. Glad they guy was busted though and no one was actually killed!
  • by Bertram Gus Dickus Location: North Florida on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:00 AM
    With good behavior he'll be eligible for parole at age 99...
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