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Fears v. State

December 30, 1998

MARCUS FEARS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Coleman, Herring, And Payne, JJ.

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/04/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HONORABLE RICHARD WAYNE MCKENZIE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PERRY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: LINDSEY E. CARTER

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MURDER: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF LIFE IN THE MDOC;

¶1. On March 15, 1996, in Perry County, Mississippi, Marcus Fears shot and killed Eddie Allen with a .22 caliber rifle. Fears was indicted by the grand jury of Perry County on August 15, 1996, on a charge of murder. He was subsequently tried and convicted of the crime of murder in the Perry County Circuit Court on February 26, 1997. Pursuant to the verdict of the jury, the trial court sentenced him to serve a term of life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He appeals his conviction and sentence to this Court. We affirm.

A. THE FACTS

¶2. In the early morning hours of March 15, 1996, a fight broke out between Marcus Fears, Anthony Adams, and Eddie Allen in the home of Allen's mother. Fears left the Allen home and went to the home of his grandparents, where he was living at the time. Hours later, he returned to Allen's house where Allen and Adams were sleeping. He entered the house and struck the sleeping Adams on the leg with a baseball bat. He then returned to his grandparents' house, followed shortly thereafter by Eddie Allen.

¶3. Upon arrival at the house of Marcus Fears's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ivory Bew, Eddie Allen rang the doorbell at its side entrance. Mr. Bew answered the door. He later testified that Allen was shouting obscenities and hitting the door with a golf club. Allen also threatened to kill Marcus Fears. At that point, Fears came and stood in the doorway with Mr. Bew. Mr. Bew instructed his grandson to go to his room and instructed his wife to call 911, because he "was afraid that [his] life was in danger and so was [his] family's." Marcus Fears called 911, but hung up before he spoke with anyone. He then returned to the door where his grandfather stood with Eddie Allen. Mrs. Bew later testified that the phone rang at that moment, and she turned around to answer it. She turned back after talking to the caller and saw that Marcus Fears had gone out the front door. Mr. Bew saw Fears coming around the house with a shotgun. Mr. Bew yelled, "No, no, no," but Marcus proceeded to fire the gun at Eddie Allen. Mr. Bew tackled his grandson in an attempt to stop the shooting, but Eddie Allen had already been shot in the back and in the leg. He died as a result of a fatal gun shot wound to his back.

¶4. As stated, Marcus Fears was indicted on August 15, 1996, on a charge of murder. On February 26, 1997, a jury of the Perry County Circuit Court found Fears guilty of murder and sentenced him to serve a term of life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Thereafter, he timely filed a motion entitled "Motion for a Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict or in the Alternative for a New Trial" which was overruled on April 14, 1997. Fears now appeals to this Court challenging his conviction.

B. THE ISSUES

¶5. On appeal, Fears raises the following issues which are taken verbatim from his brief:

I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR DIRECTED VERDICT, J.N.O.V. AND A NEW TRIAL.

II. THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED ERROR WHEN IT EXCLUDED TESTIMONY REGARDING PRIOR THREATS MADE BY THE DECEDENT, EDDIE ALLEN AGAINST THE DEFENDANT, MARCUS FEARS.

III. THE PROSECUTOR COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN HE COMMENTED, IN FRONT OF THE JURY, THAT THE DEFENDANT COULD TAKE THE STAND AND TESTIFY AS TO THREATS MADE AGAINST HIM BY EDDIE ALLEN.

IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT ALLOWED IMPROPER IMPEACHMENT OF IVORY BEW REGARDING A COLLATERAL ISSUE.

V. THE COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN GRANTING STATE'S INSTRUCTION S-8, WHICH WAS IN HOPELESS CONFLICT WITH DEFENDANT'S INSTRUCTION D-9

C. ANALYSIS

ΒΆ6. We will address each assignment of ...


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