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BERNARD DOUGLAS DANLEY v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

DECEMBER 28, 1988

BERNARD DOUGLAS DANLEY
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



EN BANC:

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This appeal addresses the issue of enforceability of plea bargain agreements. The appellant, Bernard Douglas Danley, was tried in the Circuit Court of George County for the murder of William Platt. The jury found him guilty of murder as charged and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He appeals to this Court and assigns as error the following:

(1) The trial court erred in overruling the appellant's motion to dismiss the indictment and in permitting the State to offer testimony, over the appellant's objection, despite the memorandum of understanding (immunity agreement), which granted the appellant immunity from prosecution on the charge of murder.

 (2) The trial court erred in permitting the State, over the appellant's objection, to introduce into evidence a Buck knife which had been purchased by a member of the district attorney's staff and which the State openly admitted in front of the jury was not the murder weapon and was not the property of the appellant.

 (3) The trial court erred in overruling the appellant's motion for a mistrial when the jury had deliberated from 5:00 p.m. until 11:15 p.m.

 (4) The trial court erred in overruling the appellant's motion for a mistrial on the ground that the court's remarks to the jury constituted a" dynamite instruction "or" Allen instruction ".

 I.

 The appellant was tried and convicted for the murder of

 William Platt (also known as" Fuzzy "or" Buddy "), who was stabbed to death on the evening of December 4, 1985. The appellant and William Platt were co-workers at the International Paper Company in Moss Point, Mississippi. According to Danley, he and Platt first became acquainted when Platt approached him about the idea of selling marijuana. Danley agreed to this plan and began selling marijuana on Platt's behalf.

 On the evening of December 4, 1985, a meeting had been arranged between Danley and Platt, the purpose of which was for Danley to pay Platt $1,000 for a pound of marijuana. Danley arrived at the site of the meeting, on Latonia Road, between the City of Lucedale and the Alabama State Line, at approximately 9:00 p. m. Platt and a man named Marlo Reid were waiting for Danley in Platt's blue van.

 At this point in the story, the facts become more disputed. Danley got into the van with the two men and a conversation ensued. Danley maintains that Platt and Reid exited the van and began having a heated discussion in front of the van, with the van's headlights shining on them. Danley claims that Reid stabbed Platt in the chest with a knife. At that point Danley claims he ran back to his car and left the area quickly.

 Not surprisingly, Reid tells an entirely different story. He maintains that Danley and Platt exited the van, jumped into Danley's car and drove further into the distance, presumably to complete the drug transaction which inspired this tragic set of circumstances. After a few minutes had elapsed, Reid heard Platt yell. Reid became fearful of what was occurring and ran off into the woods. Danley returned to the van, looked inside, climbed into the vehicle and drove it into the woods. Danley then left the area, and Reid hitchhiked back to Alabama.

 Regardless of which version of this story is to be believed, Danley did go back to the van early the next morning and discovered William Platt's body inside. Danley drove the van to the Shipman Community and buried Platt's body under the front porch of a house he had rented previously.

 After burying the body, Danley called a high school friend, Bruce Tisdale, and asked him for some help in" disposing "of something. Danley drove over to Tisdale's house to find Tisdale waiting there with another high school friend of the two men named Timothy Tolbert. ...


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