United States v. Delroy Thomas

NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT _____________ No. 21-1610 _____________ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. DELROY A. THOMAS, Appellant _____________ On Appeal from the District Court of the Virgin Islands (D.C. No. 1:15-cr-00039-001) District Judge: Honorable Wilma A. Lewis _____________ Argued: December 6, 2022 _____________ Before: CHAGARES, Chief Judge, GREENAWAY, JR., and FISHER, Circuit Judges. (Filed: January 6, 2023) _____________ Martial A. Webster, Sr. [ARGUED] 116 Queen Cross Street Frederiksted, VI 00840 Counsel for Appellant Adam Sleeper [ARGUED] Office of United States Attorney 5500 Veterans Drive United States Courthouse, Suite 260 St. Thomas, VI 00802 Rhonda Williams-Henry Office of United States Attorney 1108 King Street Suite 201 Christiansted, VI 00820 Counsel for Appellee _____________________ OPINION _____________________ CHAGARES, Chief Judge. Delroy Thomas (“Thomas”) was convicted by a jury of use of interstate commerce facility in commission of a murder for hire in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958(a) (count 1); attempted murder in the first degree in violation of 14 V.I.C. § 922(a)(1) (count 2); and attempted retaliation against a witness in violation of 14 V.I.C. § 1510(a)(1) (count 3). The District Court vacated count 2 at sentencing and sentenced Thomas consecutively to ten years of imprisonment on count 1 and five years of imprisonment on count 3. Thomas appeals several aspects of his conviction and sentence. Thomas’s arguments all are meritless, and we will therefore affirm the judgment and sentence of the District Court. I. We write primarily for the parties and recite only the facts essential to our decision. Because this appeal comes to us following a jury’s guilty verdict, we recite the  This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7 does not constitute binding precedent. 2 facts in the light most favorable to the Government. A. An information in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands charged Thomas with aggravated rape. The minor victim, P.E., and her mother, Felicia Bennerson, were witnesses in that matter. Thomas later was detained in connection with the Superior Court case at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility (“Golden Grove”). Thomas sent text messages while detained at Golden Grove from a contraband cell phone in his name identifying P.E. and Bennerson as the people that got him “into this mess.” Gov’t Supplemental Appendix (“Gov’t App.”) 3. Thomas texted that he was “working on some shyt [sic] . . . [a] fuckin massacre,” Gov’t App. 2, and that he would “put a hit on she and she mother” if he remained incarcerated, Gov’t App. 4. Thomas then approached another inmate, Jason Navarro (“Navarro”), and asked if Navarro knew a hitman that could kill the witnesses in his Superior Court case. Navarro, unbeknownst to Thomas, was a confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and promptly reported Thomas’s request to his handling agent, Special Agent Tracey Gardner. Gardner opened an investigation and began recording phone conversations between Thomas and Navarro. In the recorded calls, Thomas reiterated to Navarro that he wanted …

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