Columbia man sentenced for threatening attorney in federal court
JEFFERSON CITY – A father was sentenced in federal court Friday for threatening the attorney who represented one of his son’s co-defendants in a drug-trafficking conspiracy case in Columbia.
Bruce Wayne Stephens, 71, of Columbia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to eight years in federal prison without parole. Stephens has remained in federal custody since his arrest in October.
Stephens was found guilty in December of obstructing justice by threatening another person because of his participation in an official proceeding.
Stephens is the father of Malcolm Desean Redmon. Redmon was sentenced in September to over 24 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Boone County from November 2011 to August 2014.
Stephens made threats against those involved in the prosecution of Redmon as a form of retaliation. He primarily targeted Brian Risley, the attorney at the time representing one of Redmon’s co-defendants, Vershawn Edwards.
While the case against him was pending, Redmon was involved in threatening opposing witnesses and cooperators.
Stephens confronted Risley at the federal courthouse for Edwards’s sentencing hearing in September, on the same day as Redmon’s sentencing hearing. Stephens repeatedly said, “snitches, snitches belong in ditches.”
Stephens confronted Risley again after he left the courthouse, saying to him “snitches, you a … snitch … I will kill you, kill your wife, kill your family.”
Stephens has faced 34 separate criminal convictions since he was 19-years-old and served multiple stints in the Missouri state prison system.
When testifying in his own defense at trial, Stephens said that he did not make any threatening statements in the courtroom while attending the Edwards sentencing hearing. The court found that Stephens committed perjury.
Stephens claimed his use of language came only after Risley assaulted him and court security officers mistreated him by being indifferent both to the assault and to Stephens’s need to use the bathroom. Stephens also testified that he didn't make any threatening statements to Risley outside the courthouse.