George T. Holmes, Jackson, Wilbert Levon Johnson, attorneys for appellant.
Office of the Attorney General, by Laura Hogan Tedder, attorney for appellee.
Before LEE, C.J., CARLTON and FAIR, JJ.
¶ 1. Christopher Jackson was convicted of armed robbery in the Tunica County Circuit Court and sentenced to twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with five years suspended. Jackson now appeals his sentence and conviction, arguing that the weight of the evidence presented at trial does not support the verdict. Jackson also makes a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.
¶ 2. On November 10, 2010, Lieutenant James Jones of the Tunica County Sheriff's Department, along with several other narcotics-enforcement officers, hired Murray Smith to make street-level purchases of controlled substances. The officers gave Smith $40 of government money to use to purchase the substances, and they wired him with a body camera. Smith also called the officers on his cell phone and left the connection open so that the officers could hear any conversation he might engage
in while attempting to purchase a controlled substance.
¶ 3. While being monitored by Lieutenant Jones and the other officers, Smith encountered Melvin Davis and Timmy Davis, who both indicated to Smith that they would sell Smith $40 worth of crack cocaine. Melvin told Smith he had to obtain the drugs first, and instructed Smith to wait in a nearby park.
¶ 4. Smith waited in the park, and Melvin arrived a few minutes later. He told Smith that Timmy would arrive soon with the cocaine. When Timmy arrived, he failed to produce any drugs. Jackson arrived on the scene shortly after. Within moment of Jackson's arrival, Melvin pointed a gun at Smith and demanded that Smith give him his wallet, the $40, as well as Smith's own personal cash and an uncashed loan check in the amount of $1,000. All of this was captured by the officers on video recording. When the officers saw Melvin with the gun, they immediately arrived on the scene. Melvin, Timmy, and Jackson all ran off as the officers approached. Timmy soon turned himself in. Officers arrested Melvin later that same day, and Jackson was arrested two days later. All three were charged with armed robbery.
¶ 5. At his trial held April 23-24, 2012, Jackson testified in his own defense and claimed that he did not know that Melvin and Timmy were planning to rob Smith. Jackson also testified that he did not provide the gun for the robbery. However, Melvin testified that Timmy and Jackson gave him the gun and told him to rob Smith, and that if Melvin failed to do so, Timmy and Jackson would kill him. Melvin admitted that he held the gun on Smith and demanded the money from him.
¶ 6. Smith also testified and gave details about the robbery. He also testified that Jackson was a " one hundred percent participant" in the robbery. Lieutenant Jones testified that he watched Jackson during the robbery, and he observed Jackson tell Smith to drop his wallet. Lieutenant Jones also testified that after he arrested Jackson, Jackson made a voluntary statement that he provided the gun used in the robbery.
¶ 7. The jury found Jackson guilty of armed robbery, and the trial court sentenced Jackson to a term of twenty years in the custody of the MDOC, with five years suspended, to run consecutively to any and all sentences previously imposed. The court ordered that the suspension of the sentence was to commence after Jackson had served fifteen years in an institution under the supervision and control of the MDOC. Jackson filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Jackson now appeals his conviction and sentence, arguing that his guilty verdict was not supported by the weight of the evidence. Jackson contends that although Lieutenant Jones stated that he observed Jackson order Smith to drop his wallet, ...