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JOHN WILEY FORD v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

JUNE 21, 1989

JOHN WILEY FORD
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, C.J.; ROBERTSON AND SULLIVAN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

Today's appellant asks that we review his conviction of conspiracy to commit grand larceny upon which he has been sentenced as an habitual offender. Presented are questions regarding admission of evidence and the sufficiency thereof, and, as well, instructions to the jury. Upon careful review, we find no error and affirm.

 II.

 A.

 On October 30, 1986, the Peoples Bank of Senatobia, Mississippi was geared up for Halloween, 1986. The skeleton was hung on the wall behind the tellers, construction paper pumpkins posted throughout the bank. According to the testimony of teller Dorothy Matthews, two men, one a "light complected" man, the other dark, came to the teller window which she had womanned for seven years and asked first for change of a five dollar bill, then for some coin wrappers. Matthews turned away and one of the men reached into the cash drawer and removed some $750.00. Matthews returned with the wrappers, handed them to the men, and said "y'all come back" .

 In point of fact, the trick was on the goblins, as the pilfered money was "bait money" which triggered a surveillance camera that began shooting three pictures per second. The photographs show, crystal clear, a dark complected man reaching into a teller's drawer, and withdrawing an unidentified bundle, while the lighter complected man stood by, alternatingly watching the other man and looking about the area. Today's appellant, John Wiley Ford, was identified in court as the lighter complected man.

 The next day, October 31, 1986, they did it again. Ford and his companion journeyed to West Memphis, Arkansas, entered the First National Bank of West Memphis, approached a teller's window and again asked for coin wrappers. The teller turned to comply and when she returned, her bait money had been stolen. As in Senatobia, Ford's performance was recorded for posterity by the bank's surveilance camera.

 B.

 On March 23, 1987, Ford and his companion, Marion Anderson, were jointly charged in a two count indictment returned by the Tate County Grand Jury, first, with the offense of grand larceny of the Peoples Bank, Miss. Code Ann. 97-17-41 (1972), and, second, with conspiracy to commit grand larceny, Miss. Code Ann. 97-1-1(a) (1972). Ford was also charged as an habitual offender. In due course, the charges against Ford were brought on for separate trial, whereupon Ford was found guilty of the conspiracy count. The jury was unable to return a verdict on the grand larceny count and the Court declared a mistrial. Thereafter, the Circuit Court sentenced Ford to five years imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without eligibility for probation or parole. Miss. Code Ann. 97-1-1 and 99-19-81 (Supp. 1989).

 From that conviction and sentence, Ford prosecutes the present appeal.

 III.

 Ford first argues that the Circuit Court erred when it granted the instruction requested by the prosecution submitting to the jury the conspiracy charge. The substance of Ford's point appears to be that the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to have entitled the prosecution to go to the jury on the conspiracy count. In more conventional parlance, Ford is arguing that the ...


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