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Payton v. State

August 18, 1998

HENRY PAYTON A/K/A HENRY C. PAYTON, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Diaz, J., For The Court:

Payton v. State, 96-KA-00949-COA

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/17/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEAKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CT I ARMED ROBBERY: CT II KIDNAPPING: CT III ARSON (2ND DEGREE): CT I SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF LIFE IN THE MDOC; CT II SENTENCE TO SERVE LIFE IN THE MDOC TO RUN CONSECUTIVELY TO CT I; CT III SENTENCED TO 5 YRS IN THE MDOC

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED

BEFORE THOMAS, P.J., DIAZ, AND HERRING, JJ.

Henry Payton was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, and second degree arson in connection with his role in a bank robbery in Leake County. From this conviction, he perfects his appeal to this Court and argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion for severance from his co-defendant, (2) in admitting a witness's hearsay testimony, (3) in admitting testimony based on documents which were not properly authenticated and which were not introduced into evidence, (4) in not enforcing its ruling granting a mistrial, (5) in permitting the State to urge the jury to convict Payton in order to "send a message," (6) in permitting improper redirect examination by Payton's co-defendant, and (7) in sustaining the State's objection to Payton's attempt to bolster his own testimony. Finding Payton's arguments without merit, we affirm.

FACTS

On September 29, 1995, a commercial building in Walnut Grove, Mississippi, was completely burned, the Bank of Walnut Grove was robbed, and the bank president, Ray Britt, was taken hostage. Testimony at trial revealed that four men were involved in these series of events-- Cleon Graves, Cornelius Belmer, Dedrick Marshall, and the appellant, Henry Payton. According to his accomplices, Payton was the mastermind behind the crimes. They each testified that it was Payton's idea to burn the building in order to divert attention from the bank and then to have them rob the bank at gunpoint while Payton waited outside in the getaway car. Payton also suggested that if something should go wrong in the bank, the men should take a hostage.

Graves, Belmer, and Marshall then proceeded to rob the bank. When they got the money and were ready to leave, they looked outside for Payton. They realized that Payton had left them there and remembered Payton's advice to take a hostage. They decided on Ray Britt, the bank president, so they took Britt and his car and fled the bank. Heavily pursued by law enforcement officials, the men forced Britt at gunpoint to drive south to Interstate 20 and then west toward Jackson. According to Britt, the three men continually cursed Henry Payton during the high speed chase for leaving them at the bank. The vehicle went through a roadblock in Forest, and according to Officer Joe Nelson, there was a shot fired from the window of the car at Nelson's patrol vehicle. Unable to stop the men, Nelson radioed two semi-trucks on the interstate and asked them for help in apprehending the men. The trucks slowed down and rode side by side to prevent the men from passing. When the men were unable to pass the trucks, they ordered Britt to exit the interstate at Morton. Britt then grabbed the gun that had been pointed at him throughout the chase and ran the car into a concrete traffic island. Finally, the car came to a stop, the police closed in, the three men were arrested, and Britt was freed. After learning of Payton's involvement in the crimes, law enforcement officials arrested him and charged him with armed robbery, kidnapping, and arson in the second degree. Payton was then tried and found guilty as charged. Feeling aggrieved by his conviction, Payton now brings forth his appeal.

Discussion

I. DID THE TRIAL COURT ERR IN DENYING PAYTON'S MOTION FOR SEVERANCE ...


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