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Hughes v. State

December 17, 1998

HENRY HUGHES, A/K/A HENRY L. HUGHES
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



Before Pittman, P.j., Smith And Mills, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, Justice

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 5/29/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LEE J. HOWARD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LOWNDES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/17/1998

¶1. Henry Hughes was convicted of the murder of Kenny Woods by a Lowndes County Circuit Court jury in May of 1997. Aggrieved, Hughes appeals his conviction to this Court, raising as his sole issue whether the verdict of the jury was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence.

¶2. The facts presented by the prosecution at trial concerning the events on the night in question differ from those presented by the defense. For the purpose of clarity, each version is represented separately. First, witnesses for the prosecution testified as follows:

¶3. During the summer of 1994, Kenny Woods went to Derrick Guyton's house, held Guyton at gunpoint, and took over four ounces of cocaine from Guyton's house. On the same night, Guyton visited Henry Hughes and told him Woods had stolen the drugs. In response, Hughes stated: "Derrick, I'll take care of him for you." In return for murdering Woods, Guyton agreed to supply Hughes with money to rent a house. In addition, Guyton bought Hughes a truck and supplied Hughes with funds to buy a nine millimeter handgun.

¶4. On November 15, 1994, the day of the murder, Kenny Woods was employed as a mechanic at King Auto Service in Lowndes County, Mississippi. Calvin King, the owner of King Auto Service, testified that at about 5:00 that evening Hughes visited Woods at King Auto Service. Approximately forty minutes after he arrived, Hughes told Woods that he would see him "after while" and left the auto service in a light yellow truck.

¶5. The prosecution next called Nicholas Durrah who testified that between 6:20 and 6:40 p.m., a short time after Hughes left the auto service, Durrah heard three gun shots while working on the roof of Annie Durrah's house. Durrah then noticed a light colored truck traveling at a rapid rate of speed from the vicinity of the shots.

¶6. Between 8:00 and 9:00 on the same evening, Annie Durrah was traveling to the grocery store when she noticed a body lying on the side of the road. She then went to her aunt's house and phoned the police.

¶7. Mike Hargrove, an acquaintance of Hughes, was inside his house at about 8:00 to 8:30 on the night of November 15, 1994 when he heard the sound of a car in his back yard. Hargrove looked outside and noticed Hughes walking away from his truck and toward the street. After Hargrove asked him to remove the truck from his yard, Hughes responded that he would give Hargrove "all the drugs [he] wanted if [he would] let it stay there." Hargrove declined and Hughes drove away. Hargrove described Hughes as "nervous" as they spoke.

ΒΆ8. Derrick Guyton, Hughes' accomplice, testified that he had asked Hughes when he was going to "do it" many times during the months prior to the murder, to which Hughes repeatedly replied, "I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it." On the night of November 15, 1994, Hughes paged Guyton on his beeper. When Guyton returned his call, Hughes asked Guyton to come over to his house because he needed to see him. Guyton went to Hughes' house at which time Hughes told Guyton that he "did it." When Guyton did not believe him, Hughes told Guyton to watch the ...


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