ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
Out of the shoplifting and in-store consumption of two cans of sardines, followed by an inept effort to steal the money to pay for the sardines from the home of an elderly woman, Clyde Ashley, Jr. had been sentenced as a recidivist to spend the rest of his life in prison. While we affirm Ashley's conviction of the crime of burglary, we reverse on the question of sentence.
Clyde Ashley, Jr. was born on August 12, 1944. On December 13, 1985, having committed over the years a series of burglaries and one attempted robbery, each time under the influence of alcohol, and having served some twenty-three years of his life in the penitentiary, Clyde Ashley, Jr. was returned to the free world. Thirty-two days later, once more while drinking, Ashley rather pathetically and pitifully again ran afoul of the law.
Eva Washington is an eighty-five-year-old widow who lives in a small four-bedroom home in Osyka, Mississippi. Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on January 15, 1986, the inebriated Ashley knocked on Washington's door and asked to be let in because it was cold outside. Washington refused and Ashley left, only to return at 8:00 the same morning. Ashley entered through an open door and asked Washington if she would lend him a dollar. Washington told Ashley that she did not have any money and he left. Shortly over an hour later, Washington left her home, locking the front door behind her, and rode a bus to McComb.
Sometime after noon on the same day, Ashley appeared at the Red & White Store, a small grocery store in Osyka. Alicia Moudigil, the wife of the store's proprietor, greeted Ashley and asked if he needed any help. He said, no, that he was just looking around. Ashley wandered around the store for a few minutes. Moudigil noticed him open and eat two cans of sardines right there in the store. She then began dialing the telephone number of a local bank where her husband, Ray Moudigil, had gone to make a deposit. Ashley approached the counter and she asked if that was all he wanted, then an instant later spoke into the telephone" Is Ray there? "Ashley started running toward the door.
Ray Moudigil left the bank immediately and found Ashley hiding behind a cafe located across the street from Eva Washington's house. Moudigil asked Ashley if he had eaten the sardines and said he needed to be paid for them. Ashley said he was going to his aunt's house, referring to Washington's house, and he would bring back the money. Moudigil did not doubt Ashley at the time. Rather, he stayed in front of the house and waited for Ashley to return. After some twenty-five minutes had elapsed and no Ashley, Moudigil called the police. A deputy sheriff arrived and waited some forty-five minutes, then entered and searched the house. He found Ashley in a two foot by three foot closet, covered with a coat.
Moudigil said he saw several opened sardine cans at the store," could be $3.00, $4.00. "Sardines cost approximately 71 cents per can. It subsequently developed that Ashley had entered Eva Washington's house by breaking the wood around a dead-bolt lock.
On February 26, 1986, Ashley was formally charged in an indictment returned by the Pike County Grand Jury with burglary of a dwelling. Miss. Code Ann. 97-17-19 (1972). Ashley was also charged as an habitual offender. Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-83 (Supp.1988). The case was called for trial in
the Circuit Court of Pike County on March 18, 1986, whereupon the jury returned a verdict of guilty as charged. In a separate sentencing hearing, the Circuit Court found that Ashley had been convicted previously of several prior burglaries, that he had served more than one year in the penitentiary, and that he had been convicted previously of a crime of violence, to-wit: attempted robbery. The Court adjudged Ashley an habitual offender and sentenced him to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the remainder of his natural life without benefit of probation or parole. Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-83 (Supp.1988).
Ashley now appeals both his conviction ...