This 60th NinjaLaw case is the story of Robert Clifton Dameron.

robert clifton dameron

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROBERT CLIFTON DAMERON, Defendant.

CASE NO. 5:06CR00047
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, HARRISONBURG DIVISION

2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6610; January 30, 2007, Decided

On January 24, 2007, Dameron plead guilty to “unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally distributing or possessing with intent to distribute, or aiding and abetting in the distribution or possession with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, a Schedule II narcotic controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

The recommendation of Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler, January 30, 2007, was that “the court accept the defendant’s plea of guilty to Count One and adjudge him guilty of that offense”. And “sentencing hearing hereby [was] scheduled for May 24, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. before the presiding District Judge in Harrisonburg.”

The defendant was informed that the maximum statutory penalty provided by law for the offense with which he is charged, in the case of Count One, is life imprisonment, a fine of $ 4,000,000, and a period of supervised release. The defendant was further informed that Count One has a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

The sentence was 120 months (10 years, see this later habeas petition) but his obituary states “Robert Clifton Dameron, 37, of Afton, passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2012.” The obit doesn’t say how he died. It does note “He was preceded in death by his stepfather, Jerry Dameron.” Jerry’s obit from Spetember 15, 2011 states he died, age 61, at a hospital but again no cause of death is stated. This death is particularly relevant because the defendant’s ninja motorcycle was purchased by and registered to the stepfather.

THE GOVERNMENT’S EVIDENCE

The defendant waived his right to have the government’s Factual Summary read in open court and had no objection to the Summary. The Factual Summary having been filed in open court, the evidence presented therein regarding the offense charged is as follows:

On October 26, 2005, a Waynesboro police officer observed a black Ninja motorcycle speeding (55 mph in 35 mph zone). The officer pursued motorcycle with emergency lights flashing. The motorcycle accelerated and attempted to flee. A pursuit ensued. The motorcycle became boxed in by another car at an intersection. The officer ordered the driver (Dameron) off the bike at gun point. The defendant’s drivers licence [sic] was suspended and he was an habitual offender. The defendant said the motorcycle was registered to his father. The police officer notified the defendant that he was under arrest for eluding, reckless driving and being a habitual offender. As the officer examined the motorcycle, he noticed a pouch attached to the gas tank. Visible through a clear plastic window was registration and insurance information. The officer unzipped the pouch to get the information, and saw a drug smoking device containing residue. A further search of pouch revealed 526.64 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine, digital scales, packing material, 29.27 grams of cocaine and 28.8 grams of marijuana. The Officer also recovered $ 2,561.00 on the defendant’s person. The defendant’s stepfather testified before the grand jury that he purchased the motorcycle for the defendant, but kept the motorcycle registered in his (the step-father’s) name, at the defendant’s request. Stephanie Dumont, who lived with the defendant, testified before the Grand Jury that no one, other than the defendant, drove the motorcycle. The defendant’s brother, Scotty Dameron, testified before the Grand Jury that the defendant was the only person to use the motorcycle, except on one occasion. Two additional witnesses testified before the Grand Jury that they had purchased methamphetamine from the defendant in the past year. The methamphetamine was sent to the DEA lab and tested positive for methamphetamine, weighing 526.64 grams.

The defendant was subsequently arrested on May 21, 2006. A Nelson County Sheriff observed the defendant operating his motorcycle (the same motorcycle as on October 26, 2005) in a reckless manner, with the front tire coming off the pavement. The Officer pursued the defendant with his lights flashing. The defendant disappeared into a side street. Dispatch advised the officer that a citizen (a retired State trooper) had called in and said the motorcycle and driver were hiding behind a house near the street. The officer went to the house and found the defendant standing next to the motorcycle. The officer patted the defendant down and asked if there was anything in his pants that would stick or cut him. The defendant said no. The officer then located a hypodermic needle in the defendant’s pocket. Officers also recovered a black pouch strapped to the motorcycle. Inside, the pouch, officers recovered several hypodermic needles and a few grams of a detectable amount of methamphetamine. On the way to jail, the defendant slipped out of his handcuffs, and tried to get out of the patrol car. He was unsuccessful.

FINDINGS OF FACT

Based on the evidence presented at the plea hearing, the undersigned now submits the following formal findings of fact, conclusions and recommendations:

1. The defendant is fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea;

2. The defendant is aware of the nature of the charges and the consequences of his plea;

3. The defendant knowingly and voluntarily entered a plea of guilty to Count One of the Indictment; and

4. The evidence presents an independent basis in fact containing each of the essential elements of the offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty.

He was then sentenced to 120 months and habeas petition denied February 18, 2010. And now he’s dead; just five years after the guilty plea and 10 year sentence. I really wonder how he died, and was he still in federal prison?

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