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CHAULA FAYE MULLINS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

AUGUST 27, 1986

CHAULA FAYE MULLINS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE WALKER, C.J., PRATHER AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Mrs. Chaula Faye Mullins was indicted for the murder of her husband, Elmer "Moon" Mullins. Pleading self-defense, Mrs. Mullins was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to serve ten years in prison. We affirm.

I.

 Elmer and Chaula Faye Mullins were married in 1973. Mr. Mullins was employed as a truck driver in Jackson, where he resided during the work week. The couple maintained a home in Kilmichael, Mississippi, where Mrs. Mullins resided. During the course of their marriage, Mrs. Mullins regularly traveled to Jackson to carry Mr. Mullins food and clean clothes. Many of her trips originated between 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., and she often was accompanied by one of her daughters. Mrs. Mullins always carried a gun for her protection.

 The record indicates Mr. Mullins had a volatile personality and he experienced unexpected mood swings that resulted in violence. Witnesses testified Mr. Mullins' violent proclivities resulted in foul language, physical beatings, holding people at gunpoint, and threatening to kill the defendant and all her children.

 After his retirement in 1982, Mr. Mullins moved to Kilmichael and resided with his wife, but his marriage continued to be stormy. For example, two weeks before his death, Mr. Mullins was arrested on simple assault charges filed by Mrs. Mullins. The charge stemmed from an alleged incident at a local grocery store where Mr. Mullins pulled his wife out of their car by her hair, threatening to stomp her into the ground until he killed her.

 Monday, October 25, 1983, Mrs. Mullins drove to Memphis

 with her dog to visit one of her daughters. Upon arriving, Mrs. Mullins requested her son-in-law procure a gun for their protection in case Mr. Mullins followed her to Memphis with harmful intentions. Her son-in-law borrowed a shotgun and put it in a closet next to the front door of the house.

 The following Tuesday night, after her daughter's family had retired, Mrs. Mullins drove to Kilmichael. With her she carried her dog and the shotgun her son-in-law had borrowed.

 According to her testimony, Mrs. Mullins arrived home that night at approximately 3:00 a.m. She knocked on the back door of her home until her husband answered. Yelling profanity and threatening to kill Mrs. Mullins, Mr. Mullins grabbed the defendant's hair and dragged her over to a picnic table where he made her sit while he returned to the house to get his shirt. To insure that his wife did not drive away, Mr. Mullins warned her that if she left, he would kill all her children.

 Mrs. Mullins testified that before Mr. Mullins returned, she hid behind her car. From there she saw Mr. Mullins exit the back door of the house carrying a rifle. Noticing Mrs. Mullins was gone, Mr. Mullins yelled, "I am going to kill you. You son-of-a-bitch, I'll find you."

 When Mr. Mullins returned to the house, according to Mrs. Mullins' testimony she got the shotgun out of her car and hid behind a nearby wood pile. Mr. Mullins again exited the house, this time wearing a red hunting light hat. The battery for the light was belted around his waist.

 As the decedent began his search, Mrs. Mullins' dog ran over to where Mrs. Mullins was hiding. "I know where you are at you son-of-a-bitch, I will get you now," exclaimed Mr. Mullins.

 Mrs. Mullins testified further that as her husband approached wielding a rifle, she tried to f ire the shotgun unsuccessfully. She pumped it once and pulled the trigger again. The second time it fired, inflicting a blow to Mr. Mullins. Afterwards, Mrs. Mullins ran to her car, leaving behind one unfired shotgun shell and a spent shotgun shell. She drove back to Memphis, where she arrived before her daughter's family was awake.

 Mr. Mullins' body was discovered later that morning by a garbage collector. An autopsy revealed that Mr. Mullins bled to death from a gunshot wound which entered his back and exited his chest.

 Also during the morning of October 26, 1983, the sheriff of Montgomery County called Mrs. Mullins in Memphis to tell her of her husband's demise, but Mrs. Mullins did not mention the shooting. Not until November 3, 1983, did Mrs. Mullins admit killing her husband. On that date she gave a tape-recorded statement describing her shooting of the decedent.

 Mrs. Mullins was indicted for murder and found guilty of manslaughter. From that conviction she perfects this appeal.

 II.

 Did the trial court err in excluding testimony concerning Elmer Mullins' general reputation for peace and violence in the trucking industry in Jackson, Mississippi?

 A.

 REPUTATION EVIDENCE

 As previously mentioned, Elmer Mullins worked and resided in Jackson, Mississippi before his retirement, traveling to Kilmichael only during his time off from work.

 During the trial of Mrs. Mullins, her attorney sought to elicit testimony from Dalton Wallace concerning Mr. Mullins' reputation in the trucking industry. Mr. Wallace previously testified that he had worked with Elmer Mullins for 25 years.

 The trial judge refused Mr. Wallace's reputation testimony, holding that reputation testimony must originate from the community in which a person lives.

 The question before this Court is whether the term, "community" encompasses only the area ...


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