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Roden v. State

April 21, 1998

RODEN
v.
STATE



Before Thomas, P.j., Coleman, And Hinkebein, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hinkebein, J

WILLIAM RODEN A/K/A WILLIAM E. RODEN A/K/A WILLIAM EDWARD RODEN, APPELLANT v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/22/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ANDREW CLEVELAND BAKER

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PANOLA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DEFENDANT CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 4/21/98

William Roden [hereinafter Roden] was convicted of manslaughter in the Panola County Circuit Court. Aggrieved by his conviction, Roden assigns the following error to the trial court's judgment:

I. THE DECISION OF THE JURY IS AGAINST THE OVERWHELMING WEIGHT OF THE ADMISSIBLE AND CREDIBLE EVIDENCE.

II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE APPELLANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE APPELLANT'S STATEMENT.

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE APPELLANT'S PEREMPTORY JURY INSTRUCTION AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE INSTRUCTIONS AND IN GRANTING THE APPELLEE'S AIDING AND ABETTING INSTRUCTION.

IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE APPELLANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE AND IN THE ALTERNATIVE TO LIMIT INTRODUCTION OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE.

V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING THE APPELLANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PROPER VENUE AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EVIDENCE AND AFTER THE APPELLEE HAD INITIALLY RESTED ITS CASE IN CHIEF.

Holding Roden's assignments of error to be without merit, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

FACTS

After getting off work on the afternoon of March 16, 1996 Charles Pelts [hereinafter victim] and a friend from work, Shannon Sewell [hereinafter Sewell], cashed their paychecks at a local supermarket, purchased several "six-packs" of beer, and began to drink. Later that Saturday evening Sewell and the victim drove in Sewell's truck to "Partners," a country-western nightclub in Grenada, Mississippi. At the end of the evening Sewell realized that he had locked his keys in his truck. Upon learning of Sewell's predicament John Hopper [hereinafter Hopper], a former schoolmate of Sewell, offered to give Sewell and the victim a ride home. Hopper and a friend from work, the defendant Roden, had been drinking all day long and were also patronizing the "Partners" establishment. Sewell and the victim accepted the offer of a ride home, got into Hopper's 1992 Ford "Thunderbird" automobile, and the party proceeded to drive toward Enid, Mississippi. The victim had never met Hopper or Roden prior to the evening of March 16, 1996. Sewell was the only person in the car with whom the victim was acquainted.

After driving a few miles the party reached Sewell's home, at which time Sewell exited the car. This left the victim drunk and alone in a car with two strangers who were also intoxicated. The party then continued its journey toward Enid, during which time the victim apparently began to argue with Hopper over Hopper's continual smoking and having the car's front window rolled down on a cold evening. At some point the argument progressed to the point of physical blows being exchanged within the passenger compartment of the car, at which point Hopper stopped the vehicle. Although the precise sequence of events subsequent to Hooper stopping the car was disputed at trial, apparently all of the car's occupants exited and began to fight. It is also apparent that numerous blows were exchanged between the parties, but Hopper and Roden together prevailed over the victim, who ended up lying unconscious on the ground. At trial Roden admitted to striking the victim in the head, but claimed that such was necessary self-defense. Hopper also admitted to striking the victim in the head several times. Additionally, Hopper testified that Roden took the victim's wallet from the victim's body as the victim lay unconscious on the ground, and removed all of the cash from it. ...


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