United States v. Runyon, No. 09-11 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed his conviction and capital sentence for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, among other charges stemming from the same course of events. The court rejected defendant's assertion that both the federal murder-for-hire statute and the federal carjacking statute were unconstitutional. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant under both statutes. The court considered defendant's challenge of the nonstatutory aggravating factors submitted to the jury and the prosecutor's efforts to prove them; defendant's challenge of various statements made by the prosecution during the closing arguments of the penalty selection phase; and defendant's challenges of a number of other aspects of his sentencing proceeding on both constitutional and statutory grounds. The court found defendant's challenges unconvincing and affirmed the judgment.