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Wansley v. State

January 26, 1999

MARION ORNELLIST WANSLEY APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/14/1997

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: NESHOBA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTION OF CRIME OF BURGLARY OF A DWELLING HOUSE AND SENTENCE OF TEN YEARS.

AFFIRMED

EN BANC:

¶1. Pursuant to the trial of the appellant, Marion Ornellist Wansley, on an indictment for the felony of burglary of a dwelling house "of the property of R. P. Howell, with the . . . burglarous intent to take, steal and carry away certain goods . . . in said dwelling house and being the personal property of R. P. Howell . . . kept therein for his use and deposit . . . .," a jury in the Circuit Court of Neshoba County returned a verdict of "Guilty as charged." Based on the jury's verdict of guilty, the trial court entered its judgment of conviction in which it sentenced Wansley to serve a term of ten years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Ms. Wansley has appealed from this judgment and sentence to present for this Court's analysis and resolution the following two issues, which this Court quotes verbatim from Ms. Wansley's brief.

1. The Court erred in admitting into evidence two of the statements made by appellant without requiring that all be introduced.

2. The Court erred in failing to instruct the jury that the testimony of accomplice Joey Farve should be weighed with great caution.

Nevertheless, we affirm the trial court's judgment and sentence imposed on Ms. Wansley.

I. FACTS

¶2. Our recitation of the facts is a synthesis of the testimony consistent with the jury's verdict that Ms. Wansley was guilty of the burglary of Robert P. Howell's dwelling. Portions of our recitation are quoted directly from the record. A police officer for the City of Union referred to Robert P. Howell has "Colonel Howell," and so will we.

¶3. Around 9:30 a. m. on Sunday, April 13, 1997, Colonel Howell left his home on the Neshoba County side of County Line Street in the City of Union to attend church. Within a few minutes of noon, Howell returned from church. He parked his vehicle at his neighbor's house located across the street from his house so that he could walk his neighbor's dog. While Howell was walking his neighbor's dog, he crossed the street and approached the west end of his house. There, he "heard some . . . low voices;" next, he "observed three people running across the vacant lot to the rear of [his] house." Although Colonel Howell could not identify any of these three persons, the one who ran first had "a dark colored skin," and two African Americans followed him.

¶4. Colonel Howell and his neighbor entered his home through its kitchen door. As he opened it, he "observed many items scattered across the kitchen floor," which he recognized "had come from a billfold." Howell next walked into the den, where he observed "the sliding doors to the patio, open." Howell knew that he had not left the doors open when he left for church. He noticed that a VCR and a CD player which "had been unplugged from the TV area" were in a chair "near the open door" to the patio from the den. Colonel Howell observed that the sliding-door frame had been bent near the latch.

¶5. Colonel Howell then entered the utility room "which [led] into the kitchen." There, he "found the screen ripped and the sliding window to the door . . . cracked in the entry and . . . open." The intruder "had reached inside and unlocked . . . the kitchen door." The first item which Howell knew was missing was a .22 caliber rifle that he kept near the kitchen door. Howell called both 911 and the police station in Union. Union Police Officer James Hanna was enjoying his Sunday lunch at home when both his son, "who work[ed] for the ABC," and another unidentified person called him to report the burglary of Colonel Howell's home.

ΒΆ6. After Officer Hanna arrived at Colonel Howell's home and confirmed the burglary, someone told him that "Heather Sharp had seen someone leaving Colonel Howell's house." Armed with this information, Officer Hanna was looking for Heather Sharp when he saw Mr. Johnson, who gave him some additional information about the burglary. Based on Mr. Johnson's information, Officer Hanna drove north of Union, "outside the city limits," to a wooded area where he "found fresh tracks." After Officer Hanna "started looking down through the woods," he "saw the wet leaves had been shuffled around, where someone had been walking in the wet leaves." There he "raked some leaves back and saw guns, at least ...


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