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United States v. Mothersill

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
87 F.3d 1214 (1996)


In furtherance of an elaborate, multistate cocaine-distribution operation, Patrick Howell (defendant) and Michael Morgan (defendant) shot and killed a rival drug dealer. Other leaders of the drug operation included Paul Howell (defendant) and Norris Mothersill (defendant). Fearing that Morgan’s girlfriend would report the death to authorities, Paul constructed a pipe bomb disguised as a microwave oven with the intent of killing her. While the pipe bomb was being delivered in a car, state trooper James Fulford pulled over the car and arrested the driver for driving without a license. The driver consented to a search of the vehicle. Fulford opened the car’s trunk and unwrapped the package containing the pipe bomb. The pipe bomb detonated, and Fulford was killed by the blast. The defendants were charged with numerous crimes, including conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances, and murder pursuant to Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946). After an eight-week trial, the defendants were convicted of several crimes, including the murder of Fulford. The defendants appealed, objecting to the imposition of Pinkerton co-conspirator liability.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)

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