Brandon Smith set out to steal an iPad shortly after the device's release, and he did. That's a relatively minor crime -- so how did he wind up being sentenced to 25 years behind bars?
By pretty much shredding the finger of the iPad purchaser, and then, after the act got international publicity, trying to solicit someone to kill the guy.
In April 2010, as we've reported, Bill Jordan had just bought an iPad at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center when it was snatched away from him by a man later identified as Smith. In the process, Jordan's left pinkie finger was "degloved" -- meaning all the skin was peeled off.
The incident was captured on video -- see it below -- and because of the iPad's novelty at the time, the global media jumped on the story in a big way. Here's an example from the Toronto Sun: "Thieves in Denver stole a man's brand new iPad, but they also took something far more valuable: His pinky finger. Bill Jordan didn't even want an iPad, or understand the hype surrounding the recently launched device from Apple. He was buying it as a favour for a colleague in Canada, where the iPad won't be available for another month."
Not long thereafter, Smith was captured and charged with third-degree assault. That should have ended his spotlight time until sentencing. But the following August came the startling news that he had allegedly tried to arrange for Jordan to be murdered.
The statement of probable cause regarding these allegations (it's also below) sports the text of a letter from Smith, whose nickname is Gucci; it was intercepted on July 8 by Denver sheriff's deputies working at the city's Justice Center.
As we noted at the time, the envelope contained four-inch square pieces of paper wrapped in a yellow inmate message form, along with a one-inch-by-three-inch scrap of blue paper featuring Jordan's name and address. The statement speculates that the blue paper came from a form provided to Smith's attorney.
The letter's text reads as follows:
1. "Bill Jordan is the same person as William Robert Jordan. "YOU GET THIS DONE! AND I GO YOU ON ANYTHING I'll rob a bank if you want me too. Just do this for your boy and I got you for sure. You know how we do it. When its done I dont know nothing... when I come up on a lick it's all yours. I know your scoping some out and I you. JUST DO IT BO B.S. -- GUCCI!"
2. "I DON'T KNOW SHIT NO MATTER WHAT!!! Just take notice of the blue paper in the envelope!!! That's the address, so handle it A.S.A.P., and ill be out on Aug 16th or Aug 20th. THE SOONER THE BETTER!! -- GUCCI"
3. "You need me to get someone also I got you. No problem Ill do whatever. Don't write back about this and if its done just say done and ill understand. I really need this otherwise it's a wrap!! If you do this case is dropped. NO WITNESS. Don't say anything to no 1."
Thanks to this lethal invite, Smith was charged with an attempt to solicit first-degree murder. That charge disappeared after Smith agreed to plead guilty to aggravated robbery and second-degree assault. But it no doubt explains why he was handed 25 years -- the maximum sentence allowable under the deal.
That was one expensive iPad. Look below to get a larger look at Smith's mug shot, as well as to view the aforementioned video and probable cause statement.
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