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Barnette saw Miss Williams in the apartment and began to strike at the windows with the bat. There, we deferred to the discretion of the trial judge when certain jurors' answers in the voir dire inquiry were ambiguous and arguably contradictory because this inquiry turns in a large part on assessments of demeanor and credibility we cannot duplicate. In the case at hand, Bell's voir dire testimony indicated that he was unclear as to his opinion on the death penalty. He then threw a fire bomb through a gap he had kicked open in the front door, setting the apartment on fire. While Bell did state that he would try to follow the law to the best of his ability and would consider the death penalty, he also indicated that he would possibly prefer one sentencing option over the other in that “[i]f given the two choices, I would weigh heavily on not wanting to go the death penalty unless it was very, very, very, very well warranted.” The trial judge had the opportunity to observe Bell and assess his answers first-hand. After reaching the ditch, Barnette shot Allen three times in the back and left his body in the ditch. In Witt, the Court stressed that a juror's answers to voir dire questions could leave the record unclear as to his opinion of the death penalty, and in these situations, the voir dire could leave the trial judge with a definite impression that the juror could not fairly consider the law. Barnette took Allen's wallet and car and drove to Bertha Williams', Robin Williams' mother's, house in Roanoke, Virginia. Before WIDENER and NIEMEYER, Circuit Judges, and MICHAEL, Senior United States District Judge for the Western District of Virginia, sitting by designation. Robert John Erickson, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D. Walker, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D. OPINIONDefendant, Aquilia Marcivicci Barnette, appeals his convictions and the district court's order sentencing him to death following his convictions. § 924(c), (j); commission of a carjacking that results in death, 18 U. Miss Williams continued to live in the apartment she had shared with Barnette, but a friend, Benjamin Greene, was staying with her because she was afraid to remain there alone. ARGUED: James Patrick Cooney, III, Kennedy, Covington, Lobdell & Hickman, L. The government indicted and tried Barnette on 11 counts stemming from the murders of Donald Lee Allen and Robin Williams, three of which are punishable by the death penalty and are pertinent to this appeal: use of a firearm in a carjacking that results in death, 18 U. On April 30, 1996, Miss Williams woke Greene up, telling him “he was here,” referring to Barnette. Batson forbids a prosecutor from challenging jurors solely on account of their race.
He returned the gun the next day and exchanged it for a semi-automatic shotgun. Barnette turned himself in to the police on June 25, 1996 at his mother's house. The Court clarified the Witherspoon holding in Wainwright v. After his arrest and Miranda warnings, Barnette took the police to the scene of Allen's murder and showed them where to find the body. Witt, noting that the juror did not have to make it “unmistakably clear that [he] would automatically vote against imposition of capital punishment” to justify the trial judge excluding him. A neighbor, Sonji Hill, was standing in her doorway, calling the police, when Barnette ran by. Barnette saw her making the call, and from 50 feet away, he pointed the shotgun at her and told her to hang the phone up or he would shoot her.