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Blunt v. State

June 30, 1998

BLUNT
v.
STATE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Diaz, And King, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j., For The Court:

EDWARD LAMONT BLUNT A/K/A EDWARD LAMON BLUNT, 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: 08/28/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LEE J. HOWARD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LOWNDES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: FORREST ALLGOOD

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MURDER: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF LIFE IN THE MDOC

Edward Blunt has appealed his conviction of murder returned by a Lowndes County Circuit Court jury. He claims that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence so that the trial court erred in denying his new trial motion. He also alleges that the trial court erred when it denied a defense motion for mistrial made after one of the State's witnesses made certain comments from the stand directed at the defendant. We find neither issue to have merit and affirm the conviction.

I.

Michael Taylor was a resident of Lowndes County who suffered from certain mental disorders that caused him to have delusional episodes during which he would proclaim himself to be God. There was evidence that he could become confrontational when in the throes of his unfortunate delusions. On September 6, 1996, several people heard a disturbance in a radio station parking lot in Columbus, and, upon investigating, observed Taylor and the defendant Blunt engaged in some kind of encounter. These witnesses testified to hearing Blunt make threatening statements to Taylor and to seeing Blunt repeatedly strike Taylor in the head with a tire iron. Blunt was then observed to get into his vehicle and begin to drive away. In the course of leaving the parking lot, Blunt's vehicle made contact with Taylor. According to the witnesses, Blunt then stopped and proceeded to berate Taylor for getting blood on the vehicle. Blunt then struck several more blows to Taylor's head with the tire iron before driving away. No witness testified to seeing Taylor acting in an aggressive manner toward Blunt at any time while they viewed the incident. Taylor was last seen walking away from the parking lot in the direction of his home. Later that same day, his body was discovered in the bathtub of his home. A pathologist testified at trial that Taylor died of causes attributable to blunt force trauma to the head and that the injuries were consistent with those that could be inflicted by a tire iron. A police officer testified to retrieving a tire iron hidden behind some clothing in a closet during a consensual search of Blunt's home, and several witnesses to the parking lot incident identified it as the same type of instrument they had seen used to strike Taylor.

Blunt testified in his own defense. He said that Taylor had accosted him and begun to act in a wildly irrational manner, slapping Taylor and attempting to choke him. Blunt admitted to striking Taylor but said it was only in self-defense because he feared that Taylor was going to choke him to death. He denied that he had used a tire iron, but said he had used what he termed a "tire billy," which he had thrown out the window after he left the parking lot. He denied striking Taylor in the second encounter after he started to drive away, but said he had only stopped to talk to Taylor about Taylor having gotten blood on his vehicle. Blunt ...


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