Argued: January 28, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Gerald Bruce Lee,
District Judge. (1:13-cr-00310-GBL-3)
Cady Kiyonaga, LAW OFFICE OF JOHN C. KIYONAGA, Alexandria,
Virginia, for Appellant.
Brandon Goldman, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., for Appellee.
K. Luck, Human Rights & Special Prosecutions Section, Leslie
R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, Sung-Hee Suh, Deputy
Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Appellate
Section, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C.; Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney, Richard Cooke,
Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee.
NIEMEYER, KING, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges.
Edgar Javier Bello Murillo appeals his convictions in the
Eastern District of Virginia arising from the murder in South
America of Special Agent James Terry Watson of the Drug
Enforcement Administration (the "DEA"). At the time
of his death, Agent Watson - as an Assistant Attaché
for the United States Mission in Colombia - was an
internationally protected person (an "IPP"). Bello,
a citizen of Colombia, has not contested his involvement in
crimes against Watson. Indeed, Bello pleaded guilty to
offenses of kidnapping conspiracy and murder of an IPP. He
reserved the right to pursue this appeal, however, on the
ground that his prosecution in this country for offenses
committed in Colombia contravened the Fifth Amendment's
Due Process Clause. As explained below, we affirm Bello's
Watson began serving the DEA in the year 2000, having
previously worked as a Sheriff's Deputy in Louisiana and
as a Deputy United States Marshal in
Mississippi. In July 2010, the DEA
assigned Watson to its field office in Cartagena, Colombia.
That same month, Watson was accredited by the United States
and Colombia as an Assistant Attaché for the United
States Mission in Colombia. By virtue of his diplomatic
status, Watson became an IPP and was thereby protected by the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against
Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic
Agents (the "IPP Convention, " or the
"Convention"), opened for signature Dec.
14, 1973, 28 U.S.T. 1975, 1035 U.N.T.S. 167.
drove a taxicab in Bogotá, Colombia, where he
conspired with other taxi drivers to mug and rob wealthy
passengers through "paseo millionario"
("millionaire's ride") armed robberies. The
conspirators would execute their robbery schemes through a
series of choreographed maneuvers. First, one taxi driver
would pick up an affluent-looking customer and then signal to
the others. Next, another taxicab containing additional
conspirators would pull in behind the first. Armed with
weapons such as tasers and knives, the conspirators from the
second taxicab would enter the first and rob its passenger.
The assailants would demand from the victim his cash,
valuables, credit cards, and personal-identification numbers
for bank accounts. Typically, another conspirator - in yet a
third taxicab - would support the robbery efforts by blocking
traffic, acting as a lookout, or using the victim's bank
cards to withdraw cash.
about June 20, 2013, a taxicab operated by one of Bello's
coconspirators picked up Agent Watson in Bogotá.
Carrying a knife, Bello rode in a second taxicab with his
codefendant Edwin Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda. After
travelling a short distance with Agent Watson, the driver of
the first taxicab pretended that his vehicle was experiencing
mechanical problems and stopped, allowing the second taxicab
to pull in behind. Bello and Figueroa Sepulveda then exited
the second taxicab and entered the first to rob Watson.
Inside, Figueroa Sepulveda tased Watson, and Bello stabbed
the American diplomat at least four times. Watson ultimately
escaped from his assailants, but he later died from the stab
wounds. Within a few days, Bello was arrested in Colombia.
18, 2013, the federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia,
returned an indictment against six defendants, including
Bello and lead defendant Figueroa Sepulveda, for their
involvement in Agent Watson's murder. In pertinent part,
the indictment charged Bello with four offenses: murder of an
IPP, in contravention of 18 U.S.C. § 1116(a)
("Count 1"); murder of an officer and employee of
the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1114
("Count 2"); conspiracy to kidnap an IPP, in
contravention of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(c) ("Count
3"); and kidnapping an IPP, in violation of 18 ...