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MONIQUE COLVIN v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

JUNE 01, 1983

MONIQUE COLVIN
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE BROOM, HAWKINS AND DAN LEE

DAN LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from the Circuit Court of Lowndes County wherein Monique Colvin, defendant/appellant, was indicted, tried and convicted for the November 30, 1981, murder of Teresa Colvin. Upon conviction, appellant was sentenced to serve a life term in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. She now prosecutes her appeal to this Court and assigns the following errors for reversal of her conviction.

I. The trial court erred in overruling the Defendant's Motion for a directed verdict at the close of the State's case, as the Defendant argued that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case of murder.

 II. That the verdict is against the weight of the evidence.

 The killing of Teresa Colvin, no relation to appellant, on Monday morning, November 30, 1981, at Caldwell High School was precipitated by the following events.

 The preceding Tuesday, Appellant, a 17-year-old student at Caldwell High School, attended a gathering at the Pioneer Lounge. Teresa Colvin, a 16-year-old student at Caldwell, was also present at this affair. Appellant, while at the lounge, attempted to intervene in a fight which had erupted between two girls and while so doing she spilled some wine on Teresa. Later in the evening Teresa asked appellant about spilling wine on her and appellant replied she was sorry if she had. Teresa merely responded that it was okay. Appellant next saw Teresa at the Patio Lounge the following Friday. There was no mention of the wine incident made at this time by either Teresa or appellant.

 On Sunday evening, November 29, 1981, appellant first learned from her brother and friends that Teresa planned to jump her Monday because of the wine incident. Teresa had also indicated that she would be armed with a knife. Appellant told her grandmother about these threats and she advised appellant to report the same to the principal upon her arrival at school the following day. Upon leaving for school on Monday morning, November 30, 1981, appellant carried a knife because she was afraid of Teresa and also because she had known Teresa to carry a knife and cut people. *fn1

 Upon arriving at school, the students gathered in the cafeteria to await the start of classes. Teresa arrived at school with Jewelean Thompson, Mildred Moore and Jackie Scott who all sat together at a table behind appellant, Elaine Lee, Carrie Walker, Glenda Walker, Brenda Payne and Angela Thompson. According to the witnesses for the state, Teresa left the table at which she was sitting, got a cup of water and then proceeded to the table where appellant was seated, whereupon Teresa asked

 appellant" why she had poured wine on her at the Pioneer Club and was she (appellant) supposed to be cutting her. "One witness asserted that Teresa began calling appellant names. Appellant responded by telling Teresa to get out of her face and leave her alone. Appellant then jumped up and stabbed Teresa once in the chest and the two began fighting. The water Teresa was holding apparently spilled when the fight erupted although one witness asserted Teresa threw the water in appellant's face. No one saw Teresa with a weapon. Teresa subsequently ran out of the cafeteria and died in the hallway.

 Two knives were recovered by the police from the cafeteria. Aside from the knife admittedly used to stab Teresa, a second knife was found and identified by a witness as having been dropped by Rodney Colvin, appellant's brother, after the fight erupted. The witness who saw Colvin drop the knife on the cafeteria floor could not, however, identify the knife produced at trial as being one and the same.

 Appellant, aside from testifying as to the threats she had received prior to the killing, asserted that when Teresa started over to her table, Jewelean Thompson called her back and told her if she did not do something she would not get a knife that Jewelean had. Appellant thereafter believed that Teresa was armed. Jewelean denied making any such statement to this effect.

 The jury was instructed on the theories of murder, manslaughter and justifiable homicide. A verdict of guilty as charged was returned, whereupon appellant was sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

 I. Did the trial court err in overruling appellant's motion for directed verdict at the close of the state's case and was the verdict of the jury against the overwhelming weight of the evidence?

 Appellant contends basically that she was entitled to a directed verdict because the state's ...


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