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Williams v. State

August 18, 1998

LEROY CHRIS WILLIAMS A/K/A LEROY CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Coleman, And Southwick, JJ.

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

Williams v. State, 97-KA-00022-COA

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/03/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HONORABLE BARRY W. FORD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MANSLAUGHTER: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF 20 YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MDOC

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED

Leroy Christopher Williams was found guilty by a Lee County Circuit Court jury of manslaughter. Williams appealed and the supreme court reversed and remanded because of the admission into evidence of statements by Williams's wife. Williams v. State , 667 So. 2d 15 (Miss. 1996). After a second trial, Williams again was found guilty of manslaughter. On this appeal Williams argues that the trial court erred in the following respects: (1) allowing evidence indicating that he and his girl-friend were living together at the time of the crime while unmarried; (2) permitting the State to introduce evidence of flight; (3) letting the State present evidence that Williams removed the body from the crime scene and dumped it near a local dumping area; (4) condoning the State's remark in closing that Williams treated the deceased as "trash"; (5) allowing the State to use Williams's statement to police that was not an admission, but a denial; (6) referring to the scene of the shooting as a "crime scene"; (7) overruling Williams's motion for new trial; (8) accepting the jury's verdict since it evidenced bias, prejudice and passion; and (9) failing to direct a verdict.

We find no reversible error and affirm.

FACTS

Between midnight and 1:30 a.m. on December 6, 1990, Williams alleges that he was awakened at his girl-friend's home in Tupelo by a loud banging at the front door. Williams got out of bed, grabbed his pistol, and went downstairs to investigate. He laid the pistol on the back of a sofa and opened the door. Rodney Richardson was at the door. Richardson was drunk and high on drugs and demanded that Williams give him the money that he owed Richardson's brother. An argument ensued. Williams asserted that Richardson appeared to be reaching for a gun. Williams used his gun first and fired a single shot at Richardson, penetrating his cheek and killing him.

Williams testified that he feared for his life and his family's safety and therefore shot Richardson in self-defense. What happened next is derived from testimony of other witnesses.

Two other eye-witnesses testified at trial. Both heard a single shot and looked to see what had happened. They saw Richardson fall out of the front door of Chelsea Blanchard's home, who was Williams's girl-friend and would become his wife before the first trial. They saw Williams drag Richardson's body and place it in the trunk of his car. Christy Wells, a neighbor, testified that Chelsea Blanchard helped load the body into the trunk. Eugene Rogers was across the street, hiding behind a tree. He testified that he watched Williams load the body. Then Williams and Blanchard drove away with Richardson's body in the trunk. Rogers watched as the couple turned onto a road leading to a dumping area and dimmed their lights. Rogers could no longer see what they were doing. None of these witnesses reported the crime to the police.

Randy Gaston, Richardson's cousin, testified that he later saw shoes sticking out from weeds along a gravel road that went to a garbage dump. He then saw Richardson's body. Gaston flagged down a Tupelo police ...


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