Before Bridges, C.j., Payne, And Southwick, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Payne, J.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/27/1997
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. SHIRLEY C. BYERS
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: FIRST DEGREE ARSON: APPELLANT SENTENCED TO THIRTEEN YEARS IN THE CUSTODY MDOC
DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/1998
¶1. Larry Gatlin was indicted by the November, 1996 Washington County Grand Jury for the crime of first degree arson. On June 5, 1997, he was tried by a jury and found guilty as charged. On August 27, 1997, he was sentenced to thirteen years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Feeling aggrieved, he perfected his appeal.
¶2. Attorney Clell Ward owned a home which he rented to Ms. Lee Reed. The house was completely destroyed by fired on March 12, 1996. Billy Clark, who had been the fire marshall for the City of Greenville for twenty-three years, testified that an accellerant was used by the individual who started the fire. It was his opinion that the fire was not accidental in nature.
¶3. Kenneth King, Gatlin's cousin, testified that he picked Gatlin up on the morning of March 12, 1996. He stated that he took Gatlin to Lee Reed's house so that Gatlin could get his wallet and some other papers. King further noted that Gatlin walked into the house and came out, without his wallet. Also, King stated that Gatlin did not take any liquid accellerant into Lee Reed's house. He stated that when he and Gatlin left Reed's house, they did not speed away or in any way attempt to conceal their movements.
¶4. Lee Reed testified that she and Gatlin were engaged. Further, she testified that she had known Gatlin for about three years. She stated that her relationship was progressing well until she told Gatlin that she had cheated on him. According to Reed, her relationship with Gatlin had not been good several days before the house fire. Reed did note that both Larry's clothes and her clothes, along with their three children's clothes were in the house at the time of the house fire. Reed also advanced the idea that she believed Gatlin was not the individual who committed the crime of arson.
¶5. Barbara Colley testified that she had a conversation with Larry Gatlin prior to the house fire. According to her testimony, Larry told her that he was going to do something to ...