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WILLIE CAROL, MICHAEL SMITH AND LESTER WILLIAMS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

MARCH 15, 1989

WILLIE CAROL, MICHAEL SMITH AND LESTER WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



HAWKINS, P.J., ROBERTSON AND SULLIVAN, JJ.

HAWKINS, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Willie Carol, Michael Smith and Lester Williams have appealed their conviction in the circuit court of George County of burglary of a dwelling and sentence to ten years imprisonment. Because there was a conflict in the defense of Carol and Smith and the circuit court overruled defense motion to appoint separate counsel, we reverse and remand their convictions. Because there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction of Williams, we reverse and render his judgment of conviction. FACTS

The State Department of Corrections has a George County

 Work Center, which in 1985 had 75 prisoners. Three of the inmates were Willie Carol, Michael Smith and Lester Williams. On Monday, November 25, 1985, these three were assigned on a work detail to J. P. Holland, a city employee of Lucedale, to pick up trash alongside a highway outside the city limits of Lucedale, and work back towards town. Holland did not stay with the men, however, as they worked. Holland put the men out at 9:00 that morning near the city dump area.

 When Holland got back from lunch that day these three men were missing. When he called the Work Center to report them missing, he saw them walking out of the woods near the county vehicle barn.

 Dayton Whites, a physician, and his wife Mrs. Suzanne Whites, had a residence about a mile out of town off the highway along which these three convicts were picking up trash. Mrs. Whites and the rest of the family were gone most of the day. That evening Mrs. Whites' daughter told her somebody had gotten into their jewelry. They then discovered that jewelry, cash, a camera, and numerous items of personal property worth several thousands of dollars were missing. The theft was then reported. Eventually, almost all the stolen property was recovered.

 Eugene Howell, sheriff of George County, learned during the week that these three convicts had been on a work detail on the highway near the Whites' residence. On Friday, November 29, Sheriff Howell, and deputies C. H. Davis and C. A. Burnett went to the Center, and questioned all three. Smith and Williams denied any knowledge of the crime. Carol, after some questioning, said he did know something, saying something to the effect" I knew I couldn't lie to ya'll. "At that point, according to Howell and Davis, Carol was read the Miranda warnings.

 The officers continued to question Carol, who agreed to take the officers to locate some of the stolen property. Carol took the officers into the woods where some of the property was recovered.

 The officers then returned to the Center and took all three, Williams, Smith and Carol into the sheriff's office. They all signed waiver of rights forms, acknowledging Miranda warnings. After these were signed, only Carol agreed to make a statement. Carol made the following written statement:

 I left the Road to go use the woods and after I came back the two boy were gone. And I started calling there [sic] names and then one of them

 threw a stick in the road. And then they came down the hill with a bag and I ask them were did they get that stuff from and he said just don't tell no one and we will give you some of the money.

 s/Willie Carol

 Witness:

 Eugene Howell, C. A. Burnett, C. H. Davis

 Charles David Turner, the director of the Center, returned to the Center around 6:00 p.m. that Friday, and learned the sheriff had taken the three into custody. Turner called a meeting of the inmates and told them that in fifteen minutes he was going to make a complete search of the Center, but in the meantime if the stolen property was produced," that would more or less clear them up. "A few minutes later several inmates brought a plastic bag containing various items of jewelry into his office.

 At some subsequent time Turner asked the sheriff if he could talk to Michael Smith. Turner did not give Smith any Miranda warning, but according to him Smith told him and the assistant director that" they went in the house and took the stuff. "Smith then took the Work Center officers to the woods and some more of the stolen property was recovered.

 The grand jury of George County indicted the three for burglary and larceny on April 29, 1986. The case came on for trial November 7, 1986. Milford A. Weaver, the public defender of George County, stated for the record that he was first notified either November 3 or 4 previous that he was appointed to represent Carol, and that on November 7 (the day of the trial) he was notified by the court that he ...


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