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RICHARD WAYNE PHILLIPS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

AUGUST 13, 1986

RICHARD WAYNE PHILLIPS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



EN BANC

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This most unusual case arises from an oft-convicted felon's seizure of a county jail on a cold winter's night in 1983 during the course of which three sheriff's deputies were held hostage for more than six hours. Even more unusual was the defense: that the whole idea was cooked up by the sheriff.

 A circuit court jury returned a general verdict of" guilty of kidnapping ". Because the defendant was stripped of his entrapment defense - which, with respect to at least one of his victims, he was entitled to have considered by the jury - we must reverse, as we have no means of ascertaining whether the jury's verdict rested in whole or in part on the infected kidnapping.

 II.

 On the evening of February 23, 1983, shortly after 11:00, Richard Wayne Phillips, Defendant below and Appellant here, walked into the dispatcher's office of the Marshall County Jail in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Betty Mickens, an employee of the sheriff of Marshall County, was on duty and serving as dispatcher. Phillips pointed a gun at Mickens and ordered her to call the other officers on duty into her office, which she did.

 The first to arrive was Wallace Longest, who apparently was able to see what was happening and quickly left. Shortly thereafter C. E. Goode, Jr. and Bobby Joe Adkins, both Marshall County Sheriff's Deputies, arrived and each was ordered by Phillips to hand over his pistol and sit down. Phillips told Mickens, Goode and Adkins they should make themselves comfortable because they were going to be there all night.

 Phillips then called Marshall County Sheriff Osborne Bell via radio and advised Sheriff Bell that he had taken control of the jail. Phillips demanded to see the United States Marshall and the news media, his announced intention being to publicize the cover-up of criminal activity in Marshall County.

 Several hours later Phillips voluntarily released Deputy Adkins. At approximately 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. on the next day, some five to six hours after the jail takeover had begun -

 Phillips was advised that a U.S. Marshall was on the way and that the news media were present. Unarmed, he walked out of the Sheriff's office along with his two remaining hostages, Goode and Mickens.

 The background facts - leading to the defense offered by Phillips - are bizarre. They begin with stories of numerous burglaries in a community known as Lake Center (also called Lake Estates). This community began as a recreational development project in the 1950s. Lots were sold around a lake in a rural part of Marshall County just off Highway 78 approximately ten miles southeast of Holly Springs. Many of the residences are lived in only part time.

 At some time prior to February 23, 1983 (the time period not being shown in the record), the Lake Center community was besieged with a series of house burglaries and arsons. The solution of these crimes became a strong priority of local and state law enforcement officials.

 In their attempts to solve these crimes, the sheriff's office in the latter part of 1982 enlisted the services of Phillips, who was living with his mother, Mrs. Ellie Lucille Phillips, in Lake Estates. Phillips had a criminal record for armed robbery, burglary, grand larceny, forgery and assault from the states of Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He was also implicated in these crimes in Lake Estates.

 Following this initial contact, Phillips had several clandestine meetings with the sheriff and his deputies. He met with Osborne Bell and deputies C. E. (Bug) Goode, David Pannell and Sheriff Bell.

 Phillips stated he was first contacted by Goode in November, 1982," to help him convict the people that was doing crime ", and he replied that if he was granted immunity he would. Phillips testified that he later met with Goode and Sheriff Bell, with the latter requesting that Phillips get evidence against two individuals. He said the sheriff offered him immunity. He claimed to have talked with Sheriff Bell, Goode, Dickerson, David Pannell, Larry Allison and Larry Jones on different occasions. He claimed the sheriff and Goode had given him a pistol which he used in the takeover of the jail.

 According to Phillips, he met with Sheriff Bell under a highway bridge, at which time he was" ordered "to take over the jail. He claimed that on two previous occasions he had refused to do so. He also claimed he talked with Goode just a few minutes prior to taking over the jail, informing him what he was going to do. Goode at first tried to dissuade him from

 doing it that night, then Goode apparently relented, according to Phillips. Phillips testified as follows:

 A. Not tonight, because they had an attorney had bought off the jury, and I told him I had to do it tonight; that's the way it was set up. He said, if you've got to do it tonight, go to the radio room and take her first and have her call up and we'll come in. Everything went accordingly. The sheriff, you know, he was supposed to come up and take control and wait till the news media got there and then ask me to surrender. At the time, there was no mention of SWAT team. He didn't realize the SWAT team was called till it came over the radio, and that's when I knew I was double-crossed. Mr. Goode knew it was double-cross, too.

 Q. While you were at the jail, did you ever threaten any of these people who were there?

 A. No, sir. I kept repeating they would not be harmed in any kind of way.

 Q. Did you, in fact, harm anyone?

 A. No, sir.

 Vol. II, p. 200.

 Pannell testified at trial and acknowledged that there had been clandestine meetings with Phillips. Goode likewise testified as a defense witness and corroborated that Phillips had been solicited for help in connection with the Lake Center crime investigations.

 III.

 Phillips was charged with the kidnapping of Mickens, Goode and Adkins in a single indictment *fn1 returned by the Marshall County Grand Jury on October 10, 1983, the grand jury no doubt not having the benefit of the most unusual defense Phillips was to offer at trial. The indictment further charged that Phillips was a recidivist, he having been twice previously convicted of felonies. Miss. Code ...


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