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Williams v. State

March 23, 1999

RUSTY WILLIAMS A/K/A RUSTY CHANTEL WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Diaz, King, And Payne, JJ.

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

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/04/1998

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JANNIE M. LEWIS

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HUMPHREYS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JAMES H. POWELL III

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: 03/04/1998: MURDER: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF LIFE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MDOC

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 03/23/1999

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

CERTIORARI FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶1. Rusty Williams was indicted for the July 12, 1997 murder of Caron Smith. Williams received a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Humphreys County, Mississippi. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and thereafter, Williams filed his motion for a new trial and JNOV. These motions were denied. Williams was then sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment. Feeling aggrieved by this judgment, Williams filed his appeal.

FACTS

¶2. In the early morning hours of July 12, 1997, Caron Demon Smith died after receiving a discharge from a sawed-off shotgun. Prior to his demise, Shameika Bronson, Smith's companion for the evening, testified that she and the deceased left Tiffany's club to go to his car. Standing near Smith's car was Roosevelt Dear and Williams. Smith indicated that some of his property was missing and that he could not find his gun. Smith, Dear, and Williams exchanged words. Soon thereafter, Williams fired a shotgun in Smith's direction, hitting his intended victim in the chest.

¶3. L.J. Luton testified that on the night/early morning of the murder, he was managing Tiffany's club. He stated that he did not see the shooting take place, but he did testify that he saw Williams and Dear kicking Smith while Smith was on the ground.

¶4. Several deputy sheriffs testified about what occurred that night. Deputy Zelie Shaw testified that his investigation resulted in the belief that a shotgun had been used to commit the crime. Deputy Shaw further noted that L.K. Newell was the brother of the appellant.

¶5. Deputy Sheriff James Terry testified that Luton had indicated to him that only Roosevelt had kicked Smith. Luton stated that the portion of his statement germane to the kicking incident must have been removed from his full statement. Deputy Terry also testified that a weapon from the vehicle in which Williams had occupied was recovered.

ISSUES PRESENTED

I. WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO GRANT A DIRECTED VERDICT OF ACQUITTAL AND A REQUESTED PEREMPTORY INSTRUCTION (INSTRUCTION 1) AND, LIKEWISE, ERRED IN OVERRULING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL OR FOR A JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT, AS SAID VERDICT WAS CONTRARY

TO LAW AND AGAINST THE OVERWHELMING WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.

ΒΆ6. The appellant first asserts that the trial court erred in not granting him a motion for a direct verdict or in the alternative a JNOV. He also insists that he should have received the peremptory instruction he requested. The appellant also argues that the verdict of the jury was against the ...


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