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WILLIAM SHAW v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

SEPTEMBER 23, 1987

WILLIAM SHAW
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., ANDERSON and GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

William Shaw was convicted of murdering his ex-wife, Mary Bell, and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Attala County Circuit Court. The site of the crime was Neshoba County, venue was changed on his motion.

 Shaw appeals and assigns as error: the introduction of evidence of another and separate offense; failure of the trial court to quash the indictment because witnesses were not listed thereon allegedly as required by statute; and finally the admission of testimony of prior difficulties between him and his former wife.

 II.

 The facts pertinent to this cause of action are these: on September 7, 1985, at approximately 6:10 p.m., the Neshoba County Sheriff's Department received a telephone call from a person who identified himself as William Shaw and who requested to speak to Sheriff Glenn Waddell. Upon being told the sheriff was not in, the caller left his telephone number and hung up the phone. Approximately ten minutes later the caller phoned again, and this time he not only identified himself as William Shaw but further stated that he had "just killed two people."

 Once again, the telephone rang, and Deputy Sheriff Gregg George, who had arrived since the second call, spoke with the caller, who again identified himself as Shaw. The caller stated that he had just killed two people, his former wife, Mary Bell and her male companion. Deputy George then inquired of Shaw where the killings had taken place, and was told that the bodies were located at Mary Bell Shaw's house in the Rocky Hill Community in Neshoba County, Mississippi.

 Responding, as good officers should, members of the Neshoba County Sheriff's Department proceeded to the residence of Mary Bell. Deputy George discovered her body approximately 75 yards from her house in a dirt road on the edge of a field across from the home. George testified that he observed a gunshot wound to the rear of her head, as well as additional wounds all around her head. He testified also that there was a trail of blood leading from her home to where the body lay, and following this path he discovered the body of a man inside the home. This man was later identified as Arnold Lee Milam.

 At this time, Sheriff Waddell arrived and it was determined that William Shaw was not then present at the

 scene. Accordingly, with the aid of a neighbor, Lee Pinter, a call was placed to Shaw's residence and Shaw was requested to stay at home until the police arrived. This he did.

 When Deputy George and Sheriff Waddell reached Shaw's home, William Shaw was advised of his rights, and at that time he made no statement, except to make an inquiry on the way to the jail as to the identity of the officers who conversed with him on the phone. At his home he turned over his gun to the sheriff and was transported to the Neshoba County Sheriff's Department and jailed.

 Testimony at trial revealed that approximately eight people were dove hunting on the day of the murder in a field across from the residence of Mary Bell Shaw, three of whom testified that they heard a gunshot unlike that normally fired during dove hunting, a scream, and were then approached by William Shaw who led them past the body of Mary Bell Shaw and to her home, whereupon William Shaw offered to show them a second body. This invitation was declined.

 After his invitation was declined, Shaw declared his intention to leave, telling the dove hunters to stand behind the truck and watch the "mess," calling Milam's body a "dead m.f." and referring to Mary Bell's body as a pile of bowel waste, using a four-letter vulgarity. The placement of the body of Mary Bell prevented the dove hunters from leaving the field in their vehicle so it was necessary for them to walk to the residence of an acquaintance and from there they placed a call to the sheriff's office approximately one-half hour after Shaw's departure.

 Shaw admitted to having had a discourse concerning the bodies with the dove hunters, but denied their allegations that he told them at the time that he was responsible for the killings. Shaw contended instead that his wife had been killed by him accidentally while he struggled with the man - allegedly an intruder in her home - for his gun. Shaw alleged he had gone to Mary Bell Shaw's residence only for the purpose of retrieving some wandering ...


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