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Dudley v. State

August 20, 1998

DUDLEY V. STATE


Before Sullivan, P.j., McRAE And Smith, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McRAE, Justice, For The Court:

EDDIE DUDLEY v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/03/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BETTY W. SANDERS

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

¶1. Eddie Dudley was charged as an habitual offender on a two count indictment on April 25, 1991, for the murder of Cleve Williams, Jr. and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His case was tried in the Circuit Court of Washington County on April 30, 1996. After Dudley's motion for directed verdict was denied, the jury returned a guilty verdict on each count of the indictment. The circuit court sentenced Dudley to a life sentence for the murder and a three-year sentence for the possession of a firearm, to run concurrently. Finding no merit to Dudley's assertions that the jury's verdict was contrary to the weight and sufficiency of evidence and that the circuit court erred in admitting opinion testimony from a forensic pathologist regarding a ballistic question, we affirm his sentence and conviction.

I.

¶2. Cleve Williams was fatally shot in Greenville, Mississippi, on the night of August 4, 1995. The record shows that Vanessa Brown was the sole eyewitness. At trial, Brown testified that she was sitting beside Williams on the front porch of the home of L.C. Pearl, at 414 Valliant Street when suddenly a man she recognized as Dudley appeared on the porch. According to Brown, he said to Williams, "I told you mother fucker, I'm going to get you." She testified that Dudley went up to Williams and shot him.

¶3. Brown then ran into the house, then to another house, where she found her brother-in-law, Johnny Goodman. After hearing the details of the incident, Goodman called the police. At trial, Brown could not remember what the individual who shot Williams was wearing, but she testified to seeing his face from a few feet away. She also testified that she saw that Dudley had a gun. Brown testified that she recognized Dudley as the shooter from their previous intimate relationship and their relationship as neighbors. The record reveals that at the time of the shooting, there was one street light in the area, but there were no lights on the porch.

ΒΆ4. Officers were not able to recover a weapon from the crime scene. Officer Anthony Ferguson noticed that Brown was crying, upset, and had a light smell of alcohol. When Captain Stacy Hollis of the Greenville Police Department interviewed Brown, he noticed that she was upset and smelled of alcohol. Nonetheless, Hollis concluded that Brown was coherent and capable of relating to him her version of what transpired. Brown identified Dudley as a suspect. Blood stains identified at the house where Dudley was arrested were never sent for identification at the State Crime Lab. Officer Steven Boykin, with ...


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