DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/21/96 TRIAL JUDGE: HONORABLE BILL JONES COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: GREENE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CT'S I, II & III AGGRAVATED ASSAULT (HABITUAL OFFENDER): SENTENCED TO SERVE LIFE IN PRISON ON EACH COUNT, TO RUN CONCURRENT, IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MDOC WITHOUT BENEFIT OF EARLY RELEASE OR PAROLE
DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 3/24/98
Before: McMILLIN, P.j., Herring, Hinkebein, And Southwick, JJ. Southwick, J., For The Court:
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:
¶1. Robert Ludgood was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault by the Greene County Circuit Court. He appeals and raises these alleged errors: (1) in allowing the State to question him regarding whether he blamed his sister for grabbing a knife during a family fight, and then removing him from the courtroom during the presentation of the motion for mistrial made as a result of the question being asked; (2) in refusing to allow the proffered jury instructions on the lesser-included offense of simple assault and an alternate form of verdict; and (3) in sentencing him to life imprisonment for each count of aggravated assault because it is greatly disproportionate to the crime committed. We find no error and affirm.
¶2. On September 29, 1994, a family feud erupted between Ludgood and his sister Cassandra Leverette. Cassandra's husband, Addison Leverette, physically restrained Ludgood. These events took place in the home of Ludgood's mother, Amelia Miles.
¶3. Cassandra, Addison and Jamie Leverette, Addison's son, left the house and went to their vehicle. They testified they were leaving to avoid further conflict. Ludgood came outside carrying a rifle. He walked up to the front of the vehicle and pointed the rifle at Cassandra who was sitting in the front passenger seat. Addison pleaded with Ludgood not to shoot. Ludgood responded by striking Addison across the chest with the rifle. As a result, the rifle fell to the ground and a struggle ensued. The rifle was recovered by Cassandra's daughter and sister. There is conflicting testimony, but there is evidence that Cassandra took the rifle and pointed it at Ludgood, stating that she would kill him. Addison then took the rifle and placed it in their vehicle. Ludgood went into the house.
¶4. Cassandra, Addison and Jamie got into the vehicle and were preparing to leave when Ludgood came back out of the house carrying another rifle. As the Leverettes were speeding away, Ludgood shot three times into the vehicle. No one was injured by the shots. Addison drove them directly to the Greene County Sheriff's office where they turned in the first rifle and gave their statements. Ludgood immediately left town for seven days. Upon his return, Ludgood claimed that he had only tried to scare Cassandra when he pointed the gun at her. When asked about the shots that were fired, Ludgood claimed that he never intended to cause injury to Cassandra, Addison or Jamie, but that he was afraid that he would be shot because of the other rifle that was in the Leverette's car. There was no evidence that Addison, Cassandra or Jamie pointed the rifle at Ludgood or anyone else while in the car.
¶5. The jury convicted Ludgood of three counts of aggravated assault. After a sentencing hearing, the court sentenced Ludgood to the maximum penalty pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-83 (Rev. 1994), for each count of aggravated assault. Ludgood received three sentences of life in prison ...