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WOODROW JERRY HAWKINS & JOHN AMOS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY 09, 1989

WOODROW JERRY HAWKINS & JOHN AMOS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., SULLIVAN & ZUCCARO, JJ.

SULLIVAN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Woodrow Jerry Hawkins and John Amos, appellants, were indicted by the grand jury of Coahoma County, Mississippi, in June, 1986, on the charge of robbery. On August 19, 1986, in the Circuit Court of Coahoma County, Honorable John L. Pearson Presiding, Hawkins and Amos were found guilty of robbery. Hawkins and Amos were sentenced to serve fifteen (15) years each in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Feeling aggrieved by this sentence, each perfects an appeal and makes two assignments of error. Woodrow Jerry Hawkins assigns as error the following:

1. The trial court erred in failing to sever Appellant Hawkins' trial from the trial of Co-Defendant John Amos; and

 2. The court erred in overruling Appellant's Motion in Limine to keep the State from mentioning any prior convictions.

 John Amos assigns as error:

 3. The trial court erred in overruling the Appellant's Motion for Severance; and

 4. The trial court erred in overruling the Appellant's Motion in Limine to prevent introduction of appellant's prior conviction.

 At approximately 11:00 o'clock p.m. on the evening of May 21, 1986, a Charter Food Store in Clarksdale, Mississippi, was robbed by two men. The two men took approximately $200.00 from the store's cash register. As the two men left the store they were seen getting into a

 car by a witness. The witness was able to take down the vehicle's license plate number. As a result of the ensuing police investigation John Amos, Woodrow Jerry Hawkins and Leroy Murphy were arrested. Murphy was tried in a separate action.

 Hawkins and Amos were tried together on August 18, 1986. Prior to trial both parties moved for a severance and made a motion in limine to exclude prior convictions. The first witness at trial was Ms. Ruthie Brown, the employee on duty the night of the robbery. Ms. Brown testified that two robbers entered her store at approximately 11:00 p.m. and stated," This is a robbery, give me all the money in the store. "One man had his right hand in a paper bag pointed directly at her with his left hand supporting the bag. Obeying their instructions Ms. Brown opened the register and put the cash drawer on the counter. At trial Ms. Brown identified Woodrow Jerry Hawkins as the man with the bag on his hand.

 Ms. Brown also testified that the second robber told her to open the store safe or her head would be blown off. This second robber was identified in court by Ms. Brown as John Amos. She further testified that after telling Amos that it was impossible to open the safe he went into a rage and threw a quart bottle of beer on the floor. The robbers left when Mr. Derrick Brower drove into the parking lot.

 Brower saw two men running from the Charter Store. They drove away in a 1975 Nova. Brower got the tag number, CLC-941, and through that the police went to the home of the car owner. The car was there and the hood was still warm. John Amos had used the car that night. When he was arrested Amos had $174.00 on him.

 Hawkins did not testify at the trial but Amos did. In his version Amos said he went to the Charter Store and when he left he had a flat tire. Amos testified that while he was changing the tire Hawkins and Leroy Murphy went back to the Charter Store to get beer. This occurred between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. and it was during this time that David King drove by. When the flat was fixed Hawkins and Murphy returned and the three men left.

 David King testified that he saw Amos fixing a flat on a street near the Charter Store but he did not remember the ...


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