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HAROLD HIGGINS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 11, 1987

HAROLD HIGGINS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, P.J., AND PRATHER AND ANDERSON, JJ.,

ANDERSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a criminal conviction wherein Harold Higgins was tried and found guilty of the murder of Cynthia Higgins and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Circuit Court of Jones County.

We find no error sufficient to warrant reversal of this cause and therefore, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

 On the afternoon of December 8, 1984, police were summoned to a trailer where they found the deceased, Cynthia Higgins, lying on her back in the kitchen/living room area of the trailer about three to three and a half feet from the door, with a large amount of blood around her head. There was also a large pool of blood in the hallway and a pistol lying next to it. The cause of death was a single non-contact gunshot wound to the "right orbit in the medial aspect of the eye" .

 The deceased had abrasions about her face and head, determined by the pathologist to have been inflicted within minutes prior to her death.

 The appellant and Cynthia Higgins had been married and divorced at an earlier time. Several months before this incident the two resumed cohabitation but were not remarried. They had moved into a small travel trailer on appellant's grandfather's property four or five months prior to the shooting.

 At trial, appellant claimed that he was working in the area just outside the trailer while Cynthia was inside the trailer attempting to repair a dresser. He went inside at one point and chided her about being slow in preparing dinner, but was only teasing. He noticed at that time that Cynthia had abrasions on her fingers and head which she said she had gotten while trying to fix the dresser. There was also a bruise on her forehead that appellant said she received while trying to replace a first aid kit on the top shelf of a closet.

 Appellant said he went back outside and later heard Cynthia banging on something - apparently with the gun. He then heard a shot and ran inside, finding Cynthia lying in the hall. He unloaded the gun and threw the bullets

 away. Appellant moved the body in an effort to administer CPR and went to summon help.

 Deputy Harper testified that when he arrived at the scene of the shooting, appellant explained that he was outside the trailer when he heard a shot and went inside and found the body. He stated "I shouldn't have done it, but I picked the gun up." At that point the deputy advised the appellant of his Miranda rights and subsequently arrested him.

 No prints of any value were found on the gun. However, a forensic scientist in firearms testified that tests indicated the gun used must first have been manually cocked and the trigger pulled fully to the rear in order to fire.

 There was conflicting testimony regarding appellant's reputation for peace and violence in the community. One witness testified that she had seen appellant threaten Cynthia with a gun on three different occasions in the year prior to the shooting. Appellant denied ever having threatened Cynthia at all.

 Following conviction, appellant assigned the following errors:

 I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REFUSING INSTRUCTION D-2 REQUESTED ...


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