NANCY DOWNEY A/K/A NANCY PRUITT DOWNEY A/K/A " COOKIE", APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/29/2012.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BILLY JOE LANDRUM. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF COUNT I, BURGLARY OF A DWELLING, AND COUNT II, ARSON, AND SENTENCED TO TWELVE YEARS ON EACH COUNT, WITH THE SENTENCES TO RUN CONCURRENTLY IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.
FOR APPELLANT: JOHN ANTHONY PIAZZA, JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: W. GLENN WATTS.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY
¶1. On July 22, 2009, the Jones County Sheriff's Department arrived at a house fire to find the home fully engulfed. Witnesses stated that before the fire, they had seen Nancy Downey walking away from the home and carrying a large, full bag. Deputy James Atkins went to the nearby home of Marvin Pruitt, Downey's brother, to investigate. Downey and another woman answered the door. Downey lied to the deputy, claiming the other woman was Downey and that she did not start the fire, even though the deputy had not even questioned her about the fire at that point. However, the deputy knew Downey from a previous occasion and knew that she was lying.
¶2. Downey then admitted to being in the home earlier that evening, and a bag of stolen items from the burned home was recovered from under a bed in Pruitt's home. Downey was arrested and read her Miranda  rights. After signing a waiver of those rights, Downey told the investigator that she had an attorney and stated, " I could use him." It was not clear to the interrogating officer to whom Downey was referring. When questioned further about her need for an attorney, she agreed to go ahead and talk to law enforcement without an attorney present. Downey admitted that she had been looking around the home and smoking a cigarette. She said the cigarette fell and caught some clothes on fire.
¶3. On November 2, 2009, Downey was indicted for Count I, burglary of a dwelling, and Count II, first-degree arson. After a psychiatric evaluation was conducted on Downey, she was found competent to stand trial. However, the report also stated that Downey was " intellectually disabled and functionally illiterate."
¶4. Downey was convicted of both counts and sentenced to serve twelve years on each count in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with the sentences to run concurrently. Downey's motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or alternatively a new trial, was denied. On appeal, we find no error and affirm the judgment.
Whether the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress Downey's statement to law enforcement.
A. Standard of Review
¶5. Prior to trial, Downey filed a motion to suppress her statement to law enforcement.
After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion and allowed the introduction of her statement into evidence. She argues on appeal that the ...