United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
WILLIE C. ENGRAM, Petitioner,
J. E. KRUEGER, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 2241 AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, SENIOR JUDGE
Willie C. Engram, a federal inmate currently housed at the
U.S. Penitentiary, located in Terre Haute, Indiana, seeks a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He
argues that he is entitled to relief because the Superior
Court and Appellate Court for the District of Columbia have
refused to entertain or rule on his motions for collateral
relief, and in any case the District of Columbia lost
jurisdiction in 1981. He further argues that the United
States Parole Commission has violated his due process rights
by refusing to grant him a parole hearing even though he has
been incarcerated for over 45 years. Finally, he argues he is
actually innocent. For the reasons explained below, his
petition is denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
§ 2241 petition relates primarily to his 1976
convictions in the District of Columbia for rape and assault.
However, the Court will discuss his full criminal history
beginning approximately 1972 onwards as it is relevant to the
disposition of this petition.
D.C. Burglary and Assault (Docket 7485-73)
was paroled on October 19, 1972, from his sentence for
unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and robbery. Dkt. No. 20
(sealed) at 14. According to the presentence report (PSR), on
November 9, 1972, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Engram arrived
at the D.C. apartment of Paula Gaffney. Gaffney answered the
door and recognized Engram as being a friend of her cousin.
She admitted Engram into her home and Engram, along with four
other men, entered. All four men displayed handguns. One of
the suspects ripped Gaffney's telephone from the wall,
while another pressed a handgun to her chest and asked where
she kept her money. Engram and the other suspects ransacked
Gaffney's home. During their search, they brought
Gaffney's six-year-old son down from an upstairs bedroom,
placed a handgun to the young boy's head and threatened
to kill him in front of Gaffney if she did not reveal the
location of her hidden money. Engram and his co-defendants
left shortly thereafter after threatening Gaffney with
physical harm if she contacted the police. Id. at
was arrested approximately two weeks later. Id. He
posted bond and was released from custody on July 24, 1973,
while he awaited his trial. Dkt. No. 19-1 at 3.
was charged with burglary I while armed, assault with intent
to commit robbery, and two counts of assault with a deadly
weapon. Dkt. No. 20 at 10. A jury found him guilty on all
counts. Dkt. No. 20 at 32. On October 26, 1973, he was
sentenced to three to nine years' imprisonment on each
count to run consecutive to each other. Id.
addition, in December 1973, the District of Columbia Board of
Parole revoked Engram's parole for his robbery and
unauthorized use of motor vehicle convictions and ordered
that he serve the remainder of his sentence (approximately 1,
457 days). Id. at 25-26; Dkt. No. 19-2.
D.C. Rape and Assaults (Docket 73988-73)
29, 1973, only five days after posting bond on his November
1972 offense, Engram and Keith Gaffney went to an
acquaintance's apartment where Engram raped Janice Wade
at gunpoint and shot Barbara Owens in the chest. Dkt. No. 20
at 24-25. After being shot, Owens crawled to a phone and
attempted to call for an ambulance, but Engram took the phone
from her hand. Engram and Keith Gaffney also robbed Melvin
McAdory, who was also at the apartment. Engram then kidnapped
Wade, drove her to another location and raped her a second
time. Wade was released shortly thereafter.
while at the hospital, Owens identified Engram to the police.
She stated that Engram had just been released from jail the
preceding week. McAdory viewed a photo lineup and also
identified Engram as being the one that shot Owens and robbed
him. The police went to the D.C. jail and discovered that,
consistent with Owens' story, Engram had just been
released from custody the week before. Police went to
Engram's home and, after finding him hiding in a
basement, arrested him.
August of 1976, Engram was convicted by a jury of: assault
with intent to commit rape while armed, assault with intent
to kill while armed, two counts of armed robbery, two counts
of rape while armed, kidnapping, and carrying a pistol
without a license. Dkt. No. 19-3. He was sentenced to an
aggregate sentence of 60 years to life imprisonment.
Id. at 2; Dkt. No. 20 at 32.
filed an interlocutory appeal concerning whether the criminal
and arrest records of some of the prosecution's witnesses
were discoverable under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83 (1963). United States v. Engram, 337 A.2d 488
(D.C. Court of Appeals May 14, 1975). Engram also appealed
his conviction, arguing that he was denied a speedy trial,
that the trial court failed to voir dire the jury concerning
newspaper publicity and that the arrest and conviction
records of government witnesses were not produced prior to
trial. Gaffney v. United States, 421 A.2d 924, 925
(D.C. 1980). He appealed his sentence arguing that "the
sentencing judge 'was not sufficiently familiar with the
facts of the case to be able to render an appropriate
sentence.'" Id. Engram's conviction and
sentence were affirmed. Id.
1975 Inmate Assault (Docket 75-284)
March 17, 1975, while housed at the District of
Columbia's Lorton Prison Complex and serving his parole
violation and D.C. sentences, Engram assaulted a fellow
inmate. He pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon
and was sentenced to a consecutive 10-year term of
imprisonment. Dkt. No. 20 at 7, 33.
1983 Lorton Correctional Offense (Docket 83-269-A)
February 1, 1983, while housed at the Lorton Prison Complex
and serving his federal and D.C. sentences, Engram was
involved in the kidnapping and assault of correctional
officers. He was found guilty by a jury in the Eastern
District of Virginia. The federal district court imposed an
aggregate sentence of 10 years' imprisonment to run
consecutive to all his prior sentences. Dkt. No. 19-4;
see also Dkt. No. 20 at 10-21. The Fourth Circuit
affirmed his conviction. United States v. Lorick,
753 F.2d 1295 (4th Cir. 1985).
1991 Lewisburg Penitentiary Offense ...