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United States v. Lasseque

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

November 18, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
DAVID LASSEQUE, Defendant, Appellant.

APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND [Hon. William E. Smith, U.S. District Judge]

William T. Murphy for appellant.

Donald C. Lockhart, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Peter F. Neronha, United States Attorney, was on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch, Stahl, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

STAHL, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

Following a two-day jury trial, Defendant-Appellant David Lasseque was convicted of aiding and abetting a bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113, and conspiring to commit a bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. At sentencing, the district court applied a weapon enhancement and an obstruction of justice enhancement, both of which increased the recommended sentencing range. The defendant now appeals. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

I. Facts & Background

"As with any challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence following a trial by jury, we recite the facts in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict." United States v. Bayes, 210 F.3d 64, 65-66 (1st Cir. 2000).

David Lasseque ("Lasseque") and Pierre Rheau ("Rheau") lived one floor apart in the same building in Providence, Rhode Island. On the afternoon of July 12, 2013, Rheau asked Lasseque to drive him to Barrington, Rhode Island. Lasseque agreed and drove Rheau in a brown Hyundai rented the day before by Rheau's second cousin.

In Barrington, Rheau, wearing a baseball cap, a black cloth around his face, dark sunglasses, latex gloves, and a pillow under his clothes to make him seem heavier, entered a local branch office of Bank of America. Brandishing a black gun, he demanded money from the tellers, who quickly obliged. Rheau exited the bank about one minute later and got back in the Hyundai driven by Lasseque. Local police officers quickly were dispatched to the crime scene following a report of the robbery by the bank tellers.

About a mile away from the bank, a police officer saw a driver that he believed fit the description of the robber approaching from the direction of the bank. Noticing that he was speeding and changing lanes without signaling, the officer pulled Lasseque over. As the police officer got out of the cruiser and approached the Hyundai, Lasseque sped off.

Lasseque led officers on a lengthy high-speed chase that only terminated when his vehicle collided with a police cruiser. After the crash, Lasseque immediately exited the car and began to flee on foot. As Lasseque attempted to scale a backyard fence, two officers pulled him down. Lasseque initially struggled with the officers and refused to place his hands behind his back, but finally relented and was cuffed.

Rheau remained in the Hyundai after it crashed. Upon a search of the vehicle, officers found the money stolen from the bank, the gun, and Rheau's robbery attire. After indictment, Rheau eventually pled guilty to two counts: armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit a bank robbery. At the plea hearing, Rheau admitted that he and Lasseque had agreed to rob the bank, and that he executed the robbery with Lasseque serving as the getaway driver.

Although Lasseque waived his Miranda rights the morning after the robbery and agreed to speak with an investigating officer, when questioned, Lasseque "smiled, joked, giggled, and was non-responsive." Lasseque proceeded to trial on two counts: aiding and abetting an armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit a bank robbery.

At trial, Lasseque testified that, on the afternoon of July 12, 2013, he agreed to drive Rheau to his girlfriend's house in Barrington so that he could retrieve a few things. Lasseque claimed that once Rheau exited the vehicle, he fell asleep. According to Lasseque, he awoke when Rheau got back in the car and demanded that Lasseque drive away quickly because Rheau did not want his girlfriend "to see what kind of car he jumped in." Lasseque testified that after they were pulled over by the police, Rheau revealed he had a gun. Fearing that the police would shoot him because of the gun, Lasseque sped off as the ...


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