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ROBERT BLAIR v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 08, 1984

ROBERT BLAIR
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE PATTERSON, C.J., PRATHER & ROBERTSON, JJ.

PATTERSON, CHIEF JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Robert Blair was convicted in the Circuit Court of Harrison County, First Judicial District, of armed robbery and sentenced to twenty (20) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He appeals and assigns as error that the court:

1. overruled his motion for a continuance;

 2. overruled his motion to quash the indictment;

 3. overruled his motion to cause witness to confer with defense counsel;

 4. overruled his motion for funds with which to investigate and prepare the defense;

 5. overruled his motion to quash the jury panel;

 6. refused to grant a defense instruction on simple robbery and grand larceny; and

 7. allowed the prosecutor to question a defense witness as to irrelevant matters.

 On August 21, 1981, the prosecutrix was employed as a cashier at a Majik Mart Store in Gulfport. She was alone in the store about 4:00 o'clock a.m., when a man came in and spoke with her for a few minutes. While she had her back turned to him, he seized her by the hair, displayed a pocketknife with its blade exposed, and told her he would stab her if she did not accompany him to the back room of the store. She was also told that he had previously killed three people.

 In this room the prosecutrix was raped and told by her assailant that he wanted the money from the store safe. In fear for her life, the prosecutrix opened the safe and the cash register from which the money was taken. A case of beer and several cartons of cigarettes were also taken. Having loaded his booty in her car, the man got into it and departed.

 At trial Blair admitted the larceny of the money, beer and cigarettes but denied the use of force or threats of force in their taking. He also testified the prosecutrix consented to having sexual intercourse with him.

 Blair argues first that the trial court improperly overruled his motion for a continuance. In that motion Blair stated that he needed additional time to complete investigation of the case and to establish contact with his father, who was working in Southeast Asia. The court overruled the motion, noting that defendant's counsel had already made five attempts to contact Blair's father, all to no avail.

 The record reveals the trial court thought Blair's hope of getting financial assistance from his father was forlorn and more ...


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