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Ruttley v. State

December 18, 1998

JONATHAN RUTTLEY A/K/A JONATHAN APPELLANT MICHAEL RUTTLEY A/K/A MIKE MIKE RUTTLEY
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before Bridges, C.j., Hinkebein, And King, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hinkebein, J.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 3/27/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LARRY EUGENE ROBERTS

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAUDERDALE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF MURDER AND POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON; SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT PAROLE.

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/98

¶1. Jonathan Ruttley was convicted in the Lauderdale County Circuit Court of murder and the possession, as a convicted felon, of a firearm in connection therewith. Due to his habitual offender status, Ruttley received two life terms with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, both to be served without the possibility of early release. Aggrieved by this result, Ruttley appeals to this Court on the following grounds:

I. THE VERDICT OF GUILT WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE; THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S PEREMPTORY INSTRUCTION AND MOTION FOR JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT.

II. THE RIGHT TO SUMMON WITNESSES ON HIS BEHALF WAS DENIED TO RUTTLEY.

III. PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT DEPRIVED RUTTLEY OF A FAIR TRIAL.

IV. INSTRUCTING THE JURY THAT IT COULD CONVICT OF DEPRAVED HEART MURDER WAS LEGAL ERROR AND WITHOUT EVIDENTIARY SUPPORT.

V. WHEN RUTTLEY'S PRIOR CONVICTION WAS INTRODUCED, THE COURT ERRED BY NOT REQUIRING A TIME FRAME FOR THE CONVICTION.

VI. THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE.

Holding these assignments of error to be without merit, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

FACTS

ΒΆ2. On the afternoon of September 29, 1995, Douglas Robinson, James Bell, and Ammon Gracie left Demopolis, Alabama bound for Meridian, Mississippi to purchase beer. However, the driver, Bell, became lost in a rural area of Lauderdale County and they were forced to ask for directions from three men they encountered lingering outside a residence. Because Gracie and Robinson insisted on also questioning the men, ...


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