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WILLIE EARL REED v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

JUNE 03, 1988

WILLIE EARL REED
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., PRATHER AND ANDERSON, JJ.

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Willie Earl Reed was indicted for the September 28, 1983, murder of Robert L. Merrill. A change of venue from Washington County to Leflore County was ordered and the jury returned a verdict of guilty. At the sentencing hearing, the appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. Motion for new trial/j.n.o.v. was overruled, and from the adverse ruling, the appellant appeals and assigns as error:

PROPOSITION NO. 1

 THE COURT ERRED IN FAILING AND REFUSING TO GRANT INSTRUCTION D-3 OR SOME OTHER MANSLAUGHTER INSTRUCTION AS REQUESTED BY THE APPELLANT.

 PROPOSITION NO. 2

 THE COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE SENTENCES PROVIDED UNDER THE YOUTH COURT ACT AND TO MAKE A RECORD OF THAT CONSIDERATION AND ULTIMATE FINDING AS MANDATED BY MAY V. STATE, 398 SO.2d 1331 (MISS. 1981).

 I.

 Willie Earl Reed (hereafter Reed) and Robert Lee Merrill (hereafter Merrill), both sixteen years of age, had a history of fighting with one another. The fighting episodes and altercations dated back three years.

 On one occasion in 1980 while at a little league baseball game, Reed was accosted by Merrill and his cousin, Keith. The two boys chased Reed several miles. Prior to

 reaching Reed's house, Merrill and Keith caught Reed. Unable to escape, Reed was assaulted by the two boys.

 Again, in 1982, while watching a game at the park the deceased, Robert Merrill, and several other friends approached Reed. A fight ensued in which the group attacked Reed.

 Later in 1983, Robert Merrill and his cousin, Keith, were riding a moped in the park. At that time, they fired a pistol at Reed.

 Incidents of this type were common throughout the years leading up to the morning of September 28, 1983. Prior to the morning of the shooting, Reed had received a .22 caliber pistol from one James Watson. Watson had given Reed the gun for protection in his walk home past the Merrills' grocery store. Claiming that he intended to return the gun to Watson, Reed took the weapon to school.

 On the morning of the 28th, Reed, standing at his locker inside the Coleman Junior High School building, was approached by Merrill and another young man. At that time, Merrill told the appellant, Reed, that they "[would] finish where we left off in study hall . . . ." Reed's younger sister also approached him and warned him that ...


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