United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES R. NORGLE JUDGE.
jury trial, Defendant Alvin Edgeworth ("Defendant")
was convicted of brandishing a firearm in the commission of a
bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§
924(c)(1)(A)(ii) and 2113(a), respectively. Before the Court
is Defendant's post-trial motion filed pursuant to
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 29 and 33. For the
following reasons, the motion is denied.
early afternoon on January 9, 2015, the Belmont Bank &
Trust's downtown location was robbed. The robber walked
into the branch location wearing a yellow construction hat,
an orange neck warmer wrapped around his face and nose, an
orange safety vest, a grey sweatshirt, and carrying a bag.
The robber approached a teller, pointed the barrel of a
handgun in the teller's direction, and made a verbal
demand for money followed by a verbal threat. The teller
responded by removing a few bundles of cash, which included a
GPS tracking device, from his teller drawer and handing it to
the masked robber standing about three feet away. The robber
put the cash, which totaled about $3, 000, and his handgun in
his bag and walked out of the store. These events were
captured on a security camera located a few feet above the
teller's banking station. Although the robber's face
was not directly visible from the viewpoint of the camera,
the gun and the robbery were clearly recorded.
the robber left, the teller called 911, and the branch
manager pushed the bank alarm. Local and federal law
enforcement responded almost immediately, and within ten
minutes, a person matching the teller's description of
the robber was located running south on State Street. Law
enforcement's pursuit of the individual led to an
underground train platform, where the individual attempted to
flee via the train tracks. Law enforcement apprehended the
individual on the train tracks, returned him safely to the
platform, and performed a search incident to his arrest. Law
enforcement recovered a loaded revolver from the
individual's waistband. In the individual's bag were
the bank's stolen money, the bank's GPS tracker, and
the construction outfit that matched the teller's
description. The individual identified himself as Alvin
Edgeworth, the Defendant.
after Defendant was in custody, law enforcement returned to
the Belmont Bank with him. The teller confirmed that
Defendant matched the height, weight, gender, and race of the
robber. Because the perpetrator covered his face with the
orange neck warmer during the robbery, the teller could not
identify Defendant by his facial features. The teller did
confirm, however, that the construction clothes found in
Defendant's bag exactly matched those worn by the robber.
Defendant was identified as the bank robber, law enforcement
took him to the station for booking. Law enforcement reviewed
photographs contained in their internal databases and
confirmed that Defendant was in fact Alvin Edgeworth. Law
enforcement then questioned Defendant without the presence of
an attorney about the robbery. He provided a voluntary,
recorded statement admitting to the bank robbery. Defendant
divulged that he had slept on a park bench the night prior to
the robbery, and he needed money, so he acquired a gun and
went to the bank to make the illegal withdrawal.
trial, the government presented testimony from the Belmont
Bank teller, the branch manager, and the arresting officer.
The government also presented surveillance footage of the
robbery and a recording of Defendant's post-arrest
statement. In addition to the witnesses' testimony and
the video recordings regarding the robbery-related events,
the government presented testimony from three experts to
corroborate that Defendant was in fact the perpetrator. A DNA
expert testified that she conducted a test of the orange neck
warmer, and it contained Defendant's DNA. The neck warmer
also contained the DNA of three other people, but the
majority of the recovered DNA matched Defendant's. A
different expert witness gave testimony about how GPS
trackers generally function and the actual location results
obtained from the specific GPS tracker given to the bank
robber that day. The location results matched where Defendant
was first observed by police, the route he fled, and where he
was ultimately apprehended. A forensic examiner also
testified; he conducted an analysis of a shoe print obtained
from the bank, and the results matched the shoe worn by
Defendant when he was arrested. The government did not
present any fingerprint evidence.
exercised his constitutional right to remain silent at trial,
did not present any witnesses, and did not provide any
documentary or video evidence of his own. His defense,
presented by cross-examination and argument by counsel, was
simply that the government had the wrong man. After a
three-day trial, the jury quickly returned a verdict finding
Defendant guilty of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2113(a) and guilty of brandishing a firearm during a
crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C §
924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Now before the Court is Defendant's
post-trial motion requesting an acquittal based on the
insufficiency of the evidence or a new trial based on a
Defendant's Rule 29 Argument.
The Standard of Decision for a Rule 29 Motion.
reviewing a defendant's claim that there was not enough
evidence to support his or her conviction, the Court
"view[s] the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, " meaning that all reasonable inferences
are construed in the prosecution's favor. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979); see also United
States v. Peterson, 823 F.3d 1113, 1120 (7th Cir. 2016).
The Court has "no authority to usurp the jury's
function as finder of fact." United States v.
Tavarez, 626 F.3d 902, 906 (7th Cir. 2010). This means
that the Court will not disturb the jury's conviction if
it finds that "any rational trier of fact could
have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a
reasonable doubt." Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319
(emphasis in original).
The Government Presented Sufficient Evidence to Convict