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Moore v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 1, 2013

Arthur MOORE a/k/a Artha Moore, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

Rehearing Denied Feb. 11, 2014.

Page 1229

J. David Wynne, attorney for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Billy L. Gore, attorney for appellee.

Before GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES and JAMES, JJ.

JAMES, J.

¶ 1. Following a jury trial, Arthur Moore was convicted of capital murder in the Circuit Court of Holmes County. On appeal, Moore challenges the weight and sufficiency of the evidence, arguing the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense. Finding both issues are procedurally barred, we affirm.

Page 1230

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2. Moore and Felicia Butler were involved in a tumultuous relationship. The couple, along with their two young children, lived together in a mobile home in Pickens, Mississippi. On the morning of February 12, 2011, Inez Porter, a mutual friend of Moore and Felicia, wanted Moore to drive her to a tattoo parlor. Moore drove Inez to the parlor, and then dropped Porter off at his home to visit Felicia. Moore then left to get a haircut. Shortly after Moore left, he received a call from Felicia. Felicia asked Moore to bring the car home so that she could drive to Vaughan, Mississippi, to speak with the father of her child from a previous relationship.[1] Moore refused and ended the call. Felicia immediately called Moore again, this time to tell Moore that he needed to come home because the children needed food. Moore then left and headed home. As Moore entered the driveway of his home, Felicia walked outside and demanded that Moore give her the car and his gun so that she could drive to Vaughan and confront her child's father. After Moore refused, he and Felicia became involved in a physical altercation. The altercation grew violent, at which point Felicia hit Moore in the head with a brick.

¶ 3. After several minutes of fighting, Moore got in his car and drove away, leaving Felicia in the front yard of the home. While driving, Moore called Felicia's brother, Anthony Butler. Moore told Butler, " Go and get your sister before I kill her." Shortly thereafter, Moore spotted Butler driving in the opposite direction. Butler's cousin, Anthony Morton, was riding on the passenger's side of Butler's vehicle. Moore stopped Butler, and again told him, " Go and get your sister before I kill her." Butler stated he had nothing to do with Moore and Felicia's altercation. Butler drove away and headed to Moore's house to pick up Felicia. Moore followed. Upon their arrival, Moore got out of his truck and immediately began arguing with Felicia. During the argument, Butler got out of his car and stood by the door on the driver's side. Butler told Felicia to go in the house and get her baby so they could leave. While Moore and Felicia continued arguing, Butler reached into his car to get a cigarette. At that point, Moore walked back to his own vehicle and retrieved a 30-caliber rifle. Moore pointed the rifle at Butler and told Butler to " stop reaching." Butler raised both of his hands and said he did not have anything. Before Butler could get into his vehicle and leave, Moore fired his rifle at Butler, striking Butler in the right side of his chest. At that point, Felicia, Porter, and Morton ran to the next-door neighbor's house for safety. Morton testified that as they were running, Moore continued to fire his rifle at them and demanded that they leave his property. Butler died at the scene.

¶ 4. On April 21, 2011, Moore was indicted for capital murder and four counts of aggravated assault.[2] A trial was held on February 13, 2012. Moore was found guilty of murder but was acquitted on all four counts of aggravated assault. Moore was sentenced to serve a term of life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Without ever having filed a motion for a new trial or a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, Moore filed the present appeal.

Page 1231

DISCUSSION

I. Sufficiency of the Evidence


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