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Walker v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 10, 2013

Chance WALKER a/k/a Chance Donovan Walker, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

Page 321

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 322

Mollie Marie McMillin, attorney for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Lisa L. Blount, attorney for appellee.

Before LEE, C.J., BARNES and ISHEE, JJ.

BARNES, J.

¶ 1. Following a trial in the Copiah County Circuit Court, the jury found Chance Walker guilty of capital murder, for a murder during the commission of a robbery. Upon conviction, Walker was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or early release.

¶ 2. Walker argues on appeal that the trial court erred by allowing prejudicial photographs to be admitted into evidence. Additionally, Walker argues that the trial court erred by not granting a new trial based upon an unannounced familial relationship between a juror and a witness. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 3. On January 15, 2011, Enrique Ixcot was found severely beaten outside his home. Earlier that evening, Chance Walker, Natara Ellis, and Erica Sutton were driving in Walker's automobile when Walker exited the car and instructed Ellis and Sutton to pick him up once he called them. After some time had passed, Walker instructed Ellis to pick him up. According to testimony by Ellis, Walker was in possession of a hammer and wallet when he reentered the car. The three then traveled to the home of Ellis's grandmother, and Walker went into the back yard. Ixcot's passport and other personal items were later found there.

¶ 4. During the trial, two photographs were admitted into evidence. Exhibit S-1 was a photograph of Ixcot following his autopsy, and Exhibit S-3 was a photograph of Ixcot showing his pockets turned out and his face grievously injured. At trial, Walker objected to the admission of both photographs on the ground that they were more prejudicial than probative. The trial judge disagreed and allowed both to be admitted.

¶ 5. Additionally, a discrepancy concerning one of the jurors arose during the trial. The court could not locate the record of a summons for one juror, Deotis Catchings. However, both parties waived objections to his remaining on the jury, and the trial continued. Following the trial, information came to light concerning a familial relationship between Catchings and Ellis, a witness for the prosecution. Catchings's brother, Roy, was married to Ellis's great aunt (mother's father's sister). Catchings was thus the brother of Ellis's great uncle

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by marriage. Ellis's mother was listed a possible witness for the prosecution, but was not ultimately called to testify. Ellis's mother stated that she knew Catchings, but she could not show that he ...


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